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Highland CLANS of 

<$COtland: Their History and 
Traditions. By George yre-Todd 

With an Introduction by A. M. MACKINTOSH 






If, I 




FOREWORD ........ ix 

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . XI 


CLAN BUCHANAN ....... 8 

CLAN CAMERON ....... l8 

CLAN CAMPBELL ....... 26 


CLAN CHISHOLM ....... 45 

CLAN COLQUHOUN ....... 52 

CLAN COMYN ........ 59 

CLAN DAVIDSON . . . . . . -67 

CLAN DRUMMOND ....... 74 


CLAN FARLAN ........ 91 


CLAN FERGUS ........ 106 

CLAN FORBES ........ IJ2 

CLAN FRASE.R ........ 122 

CLAN GORDON ........ 132 

CLAN GRAHAM ........ 143 

CLAN GRANT ........ 153 


CLAN GREGOR . . . . . . . . 166 

CLAN GUNN , . . . . . . . 173 

CLAN LAMONT . . . . . . . -179 

CLAN LINDSAY . . . . . . . .187 



CLAN LOGAN ........ 2OO 


CLAN MACARTHUR . . . . . . . 2O8 

CLAN MACAULAY . . . . . . . 214 

CLAN MACBEAN . . . . . . . 2l8 

CLAN MACCRIMMON ....... 224 

CLAN MACCOLL . . .' . . . . 22<> 





Armorial Bearings ..... Frontispiece 

Mosaic of Charlemagne .... Facing page x 

Buchanan . . . . . ,,8 

Loch Lomond Shore at Balmaha . . ,,12 

Cameron . . . . . 18 
River Arkaig . .... 22 

Achnacarry . . . . . ,,24 

Campbell . . . . . ,,26 

Inisconnel, Loch Awe . . . 38 

Inveraray Castle . . . . 32 

Campbell of Breadalbane . . . -'- 3*> 

Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy . 40 

Taymouth Castle Gates, Kenmore . . ,,42 

Chisholm . . . . . ,,44 

Colquhoun . . . . . 52 

Dunglass Castle . . . . 54 

Luss Pier and the Straits of Luss . . 56 

Comyn 58 

Comyn, Lord of Kilbride . . . ,,62 

Davidson . . . . . ,,66 

Tulloch Castle, Dingwall . . . 70 

Drummond . . . . . n 74 

Duncan or Robertson . . . ,,84 

The Cumberland Stone on Culloden Moor ,,86 

Parian oo 

Eilean-a-Vow Castle . . . . 94 

Farquharson . . . . . 08 
Old Bridge of Dee ..... 102 

Fergus 106 

Forbes . . . . . . 112 

Castle Forbes . . . . . 116 



Frascr . . '.'>"> 

Gordon . . . . . .--, ,,132 

Huntly Castle . . . . . ,, i3 8 

Graham ...... 142 

The Great Marquess of Montrose . ,,148 

Mugdock Castle . . . . . 150 

Grant ..... . 152 

Entrance Hall, Castle Grant . . . ,,156 

Grant of Glenmoriston .... 160 

Gregor ......'. 106 

Edinchip, Balquhidder . . . 168 

Glengyle House . . . . 170 

Gunn ....... 172 

Lament ...... 178 

Toward Castle . . . . 182 

Logan . . . . . . 200 

MacAlastair ...... 204 

Saddell Castle . . . . . ,,206 

MacArthur ...... 208 

MacAulay . . . . . 214 

Row on the Gareloch . . . ,,216 

MacBean . . . . . 218 

MacCrimmon . . . . . . 224 

MacDonald of the Isles . * . 232 

Barochan Cross . . . ' , 236 

MacDonald of Clanranald . . . , . 244 

MacDonald of Glencoe . . 252 

The Governor's House, Fort William . 254 

Olencoe . : .' . 256 


THOUGH the Scottish Highlander is proverbially tenacious 
of the memories of his race, and almost invariably well- 
informed regarding the descent and relationship of his 
clan, there has hitherto been a notorious lack of collected 
information regarding the individual histories and tradi- 
tions of the Highland tribes. Of several of the clans 
there are admirable monographs in existence, and for the 
general history of the Gael one may consult books like 
Skene's Celtic Scotland and Browne's History of 
the Highlands; but in the way of a collection of 
histories of the separate clans nothing sufficiently detailed 
has been available. The present work is designed to 
supply in convenient shape information regarding each 
clan which is only to be found in widely scattered quarters 
elsewhere. On thorny points, like the chiefship of the 
MacDonalds, the headship of Clan Chattan, and the 
relationship of the MacArthurs and the Campbells, it is 
hoped that the facts have been stated without bias. It 
is hoped also that, while it would be impossible, within 
even a generous compass, to furnish complete narratives 
of all that is known of each clan, the net has been cast 
sufficiently wide to include all events of real importance, 
and to show their relationship, causes, and effects in a 
reasoned narrative. ,With only a very few alterations the 
list of septs put forward by Mr. Frank Adams in his 
excellent compendium of the Highland Clans, Septs, and 
Regiments has been adopted, and it is hoped that the 
reproduction of the spirited colour prints from Mclan's 
celebrated Clans of the Scottish Highlands, now almost 
unobtainable, will add a further feature of interest. 




Facing page x. 


FOR some time past there have been signs of a 
reawakening of interest in all matters pertaining to the 
Highlands, and Mr Eyre-Todd has taken up the task of 
meeting a wide demand which has arisen for information 
as to the origins and fortunes of the various clans and 
their principal families. At present the only book 
claiming to give a comprehensive view of this subject is 
Mclan's Clans of the Scottish Highlands, but that 
work, published three-quarters of a century ago, is rarely 
met with and is valuable mainly on account of its pictures. 
Since it appeared the horizon of inquiry has been 
considerably widened by the publication of documents 
from the national archives and the charter chests of 
private families, and many of the spurious pedigrees and 
absurdities of earlier writers, such as Douglas in his 
Baronage of Scotland, have been swept away, though 
they will no doubt continue to be quoted by superficial 
writers. In Celtic Scotland (1880) the late Dr W. F. 
Skene devoted a chapter and part of the Appendix to the 
clans and their genealogies, and his conclusions are often 
accepted as final and authoritative ; but he is by no means 
a safe guide, on account of his fatal propensity for setting 
up theories on insufficient foundations, and his blind 
devotion to the MS. of 1467. His previous work, 
The Highlanders of Scotland (1837), 1S practically 
thrown overboard in Celtic Scotland, and may be 
ignored by the modern student (except perhaps with the 
notes in Dr Macbain's edition of 1902). In the present 



century several books of more or less authority giving 
histories of individual clans have appeared, but no 
serious attempt had been made to deal with the clans 
generally until Mr Eyre-Todd boldly essayed the gigantic 
task. He brings to this task an open mind and good 
judgment, and the readers of his pages, whether agreeing 
with him or not in every detail and he may expect 
considerable disagreement cannot but feel that he has 
been animated by a sincere desire to get at the truth of 
things, and that on the whole he has treated his subject 
in a fair and sympathetic manner. I wish him every 


August, 1923. 


IT is now well understood that the Celts originally came 
out of the east. Guest, in his Origines Celticoe 
describes the routes by which they streamed across Europe 
and along the north coast of Africa in a bygone century. 
The migration did not stop till it had reached the shores 
of the Atlantic. The Celtic flood was followed within the 
Christian era by the migrations of succeeding races 
Huns, Goths, Vandals, Franks, these variously called 
themselves and before the successive waves the Celts 
were driven against the western coast, like the fringe of foam 
driven up by wind and tide upon a beach. This process 
was seen in our own islands when the British inhabitants 
were driven westward by the oncoming waves of Saxons, 
Angles, and Danes in the fifth and following centuries. 
Thus driven against the western shores these Celts were 
known, down to the Norman Conquest, as the Britons or 
Welsh of Strathclyde, of Wales, and of West Wales or 

In the north, beyond the Forth and among the 
mountain fastnesses, as well as in the south of Galloway, 
the Celtic race continued to hold its own. By the Roman 
chroniclers the tribes there were known as the Caledonians 
or Picts. Between the Forth and the Grampians were the 
Southern Picts, north of the Grampians were the Northern 
Picts, and in Galloway were the Niduarian Picts. To 
which branch of the Celtic race, British or Gaelic, or a 
separate branch by themselves, the Picts belonged, is not 
now known. From the fact that after the Roman legions 
were withdrawn they made fierce war upon the British 
tribes south of the Forth, it seems likely that they were 
not British. Dr. W. F. Skene, in his Highlanders of 
Scotland, took elaborate pains to prove that the Picts were 
Gaelic, an earlier wave of the same race as the Gaels or 
Scots who then peopled Ireland, at that time known as 

Exactly how these Scots came into the sister isle is not 
now known. According to their own tradition they 
derived their name from Scota, daughter of one of the 
Pharoahs, whom one of their leaders married as they 
passed westward through Egypt, and it is possible they 
VOL. i. i A 


may be identified with the division of the Celtic tribes 
which passed along the north coast of Africa. According 
to Gaelic tradition the Scots migrated from Spain to the 
south of Ireland. According to the same tradition they 
brought with them the flat brown stone, about nine inches 
thick, known as the Lia Fail, or Stone of Destiny, on 
which their kings were crowned, and which was said to 
have been Jacob's pillow at Bethel on the plain of Luz. 
From Ireland they began to cross into Kintyre the 
" Headland " in the sixth century. Their three leaders 
were Fergus, Lorn, and Angus, sons of Ere, and their 
progress was not always a matter of peaceful settlement. 
Fergus, for instance, made a landing in Ayrshire, and 
defeated and slew Coyle the British king of the district, 
whose tumulus is still to be seen at Coylesfield, and whose 
name is still commemorated as that of the region, Kyle, 
and in popular rhymes about " Old King Cole." 

In Kintyre and the adjoining neighbourhood the 
invaders established the little Dalriadic kingdom, so 
called from their place of origin in the north-east of 
Ireland, Dal-Riada, the " Portion of Riada," conquered 
in the third century by Fergus's ancestor, Cairbre-Riada, 
brother of Cormac, an Irish King. They had their first 
capital at Dun-add near the present Crinan Canal, and 
from their possession the district about Loch Awe took the 
name of Oire-Gaidheal, or Argyll, the " Land of the Gael. v 
These settlers were Christian, and the name of their 
patron saint, Kiaran, remains in Kilkiaran, the old name 
of Campbeltown, Kil-kiaran in Islay, Kilkiaran in Lismore, 
and Kilkerran in Carrick, which last, curiously enough, 
is a possession of the Fergusons at the present hour. The 
invasion, however, received one of its strongest impulses 
from a later missionary. Columba crossed from Ireland 
and settled in lona in the year 563, and very soon, with his 
followers, began a great campaign of Christian conversion 
among the Northern Picts. The Picts and early Britons, 
as is shown by their monuments and the folk-customs they 
have handed down to us, were worshippers of Baal and 
Ashtaroth. Columba's conversion of Brud, king of the 
Northern Picts at his stronghold at Inverness, opened up 
the whole country to the Gaelic influence. By and by 
marriages took place between the Pictish and the Gaelic 
royal houses, and these led, in the ninth century, to dis- 
putes over the succession to the Pictish crown. In the 
struggle which followed, Alpin, king of the Scots, was 
beheaded by the Picts on Dundee Law, in sight of his own 
host. But the whole matter was finally decided by the 


victory of Alpin's son, Kenneth II., over the last Pictish 
army, in the year 838, at the spot called Cambuskenneth 
after the event, on the bank of the Forth near Stirling. 
Six years later Kenneth succeeded to the Pictish throne. 

The history of these early centuries is to be gathered 
from Adamnan's Life of Columba, the Annals of Tigher- 
nac, the Annals of Ulster, the Albanach Dvan, Bede's 
Chronicle, and other works. 

By that time another warlike race had made its appear- 
ance on the western coasts. At their first coming, the 
Dalriads or Scots from Ireland had been known as 
Gallgael Gaelic strangers. The new piratical visitors 
who now appeared from the eastern shores of the North 
Sea, received the name of Fion-gall or " fair-haired 
strangers." Worshippers of Woden and Thor, they 
proved at first fierce and bitter enemies to the Christian 
Picts and Gaels, slaying the monks of lona on their own 
altar, and even penetrating so far as to burn Dunbarton, 
the capital of the Britons of Strathclyde, in the year 780. 
In the face of this menace, Kenneth, in the year of his 
victory over the Picts, removed the Lia Fail from his own 
stronghold of Dunstaffnage on Loch Etive, to Scone on 
the Tay, transferred the bones of Columba from lona to 
Dunkeld, and fixed his own royal seat at the ancient 
capital of the Southern Picts, Forteviot on the Earn. 
This remained the capital of the Scoto-Pictish kings for 
two centuries, till in 1057 Malcolm Canmore, son of the 
" gracious " Duncan and the miller's daughter of 
Forteviot, overthrew Macbeth, and set up the capital of 
his new dynasty at Dunfermline. 

Meanwhile the Norsemen overran not only the Western 
Isles but much of the northern part of the country. For 
a time it was an even chance whether ancient Caledonia 
should become Norseland or Scotland. Under Malcolm 
Canmore and his sons, however, the Scots pushed their 
conquests south of the Forth, annexed Strathclyde, 
Northumberland, and Westmoreland, and became a for- 
midable power in the land. David I. fortified his dynasty 
against attack by planting the country with Norman and 
English barons and introducing the feudal system; and 
the final issue with the Norsemen was fought out by the 
last of his race, the last of the Celtic line of kings, 
Alexander III., at the battle of Largs in 1263. 

It is about this period that the traditional history of 
most of the Highland clans makes a beginning. It was 
long the custom to attribute the origin of all these clans to 
a Gaelic source. The late Dr. W. F. Skene wrote his 


book, The Highlanders of Scotland, to show that many of 
the clans, particularly in the more eastern and northern 
parts of the Highlands, must have been of Pictish origin. 
Without going into the somewhat elaborate details of his 
evidence and argument, with later modifications in his 
Celtic Scotland, it may simply be said that the proposition 
appears reasonable. Nor would it appear "less honourable 
to be descended from the ancient Pictish race of Caledonia 
than from the Scottish race which crossed the narrow seas 
from Ireland. The record of the Picts includes their 
magnificent and victorious struggle against the Roman 
legions, their defeat of the British Arthur himself at 
Camelon in 537, and the overthrow of Egcfrith of 
Northumbria at Nectansmere in Fife in the year 835. But 
it must be remembered that the Norse race has also con- 
tributed to the origin of the clans. The names of the 
ancient MacLeod chiefs Torquil, Tormod, and the like 
would of themselves be enough to point this out ; and it 
must be remembered that the wife of the mighty Somerled, 
from whom all the Macdonald and several other clans are 
descended, was sister of Godred the Norwegian King of 
Man. It is equally certain that several clans are of 
Anglian and Norman origin. The Murrays claim descent 
from Freskin the Fleming. The Gordons, whether 
Gordon or Seton, are Norman from the Scottish Border. 
And the Macfarlanes, cadets of the older Earls of Lennox, 
are of Northumbrian, or Anglian source. Nothing could 
be more interesting than the process by which families of 
such various origin, in the course of a few generations 
became so impregnated with the spirit of their surround- 
ings as to be practically indistinguishable in instinct and 
characteristics. Sir Walter Scott had the Highlanders as 
a whole in view when he framed his famous and apt 
description of " Gentlemen of the north, men of the south, 
people of the west, and folk of Fife." 

The clan system no doubt took its origin largely from 
the mountainous nature of the country in which the people 
found themselves, each family or tribe living in its own 
glen, separate from the rest of the world, and too remote 
from any capital to be interfered with by a central govern- 
ment. In these circumstances, as in similar circumstances 
elsewhere, Afghanistan and Arabia, for instance, the 
father of the family naturally became the ruler, and when 
the family grew into a tribe he became its chief. In later 
days, when great combinations of related clans were 
formed, the chief of the strongest branch might become 
captain of the confederacy, like the Captain of Clanranald 


and the Captain of Clan Chattan. The chief ship was 
inherited by the eldest legitimate son, but it must be 
remembered that in the Highlands the son of a " hand- 
fast " union was considered legitimate, whether his parents 
were afterwards married or not. Handfasting was a form 
of trial marriage lasting for a year and a day. If it proved 
unfruitful it could be terminated at the end of that time, 
but sometimes a chief might die or be slain before his 
handfast union could be regularised, and in this case his 
son was still recognised as his heir. The system arose 
from the urgent desirability of carrying on the direct line 
of the chiefs. 

Another outcome of a state of society in which the 
rights and property of the tribe had constantly to be 
defended by the sword was the custom of tanistry. If the 
heir of a chief happened to be too young to rule the clan 
or lead it in battle the nearest able-bodied relative might 
succeed for the time to the chiefship. This individual was 
known as the tanist. A conspicuous example of the work- 
ing of the law of tanistry was the succession of Macbeth 
to the crown of his uncle, King Duncan, notwithstanding 
the fact that Duncan left several sons, legitimate and 
illegitimate. By his right as tanist Macbeth ruled 
Scotland ably and justly for seventeen years. 

By writers on the customs of the clans a good deal has 
been made of the so-called law of gavel. It is supposed 
that under this " law " the whole property of a chief was 
divided among his family at his death, and Browne, in his 
History of the Highlands, accounts by the action of this 
" law " for the impoverishment and loss of influence which 
overtook some of the clan chiefs. By this .process, he says, 
the line of the chiefs gradually became impoverished while 
the senior cadet became the most powerful member of the 
clan and assumed command as captain. There seems, 
however, some misunderstanding here, for the law of gavel 
would apply equally to the possessions of the senior cadet. 
The " law " of gavel probably meant no more than this. 
A chief portioned out his lands to his sons as tenants. 
When his eldest son succeeded as chief, as these tenancies 
fell in, he portioned out the lands in turn to his own sons 
in the same way. Thus the nearest relatives of the chief 
were always the men of highest rank and most influence 
in the clan, while the oldest cadets, unless they had secured 
their position in time by their own exertions, were apt to 
find their way to the ranks of the ordinary clansmen. As 
all, however, claimed descent from the house of the chief, 
all prided themselves upon the rank of gentlemen, and 


behaved accordingly. To this fact are owed the high and 
chivalrous ideas of personal honour which have always 
characterised the Scottish Highlander. 

As an acknowledgment of his authority all the clansmen 
paid calpe or tribute to the chief, and when outsiders 
sometimes inhabitants of a conquered district, or members 
of a '* broken " clan, a clan without a head attached 
themselves to a tribe, they usually came under a bond of 
manrent for offence and defence, and agreed to pay the 
calpe to their adopted chief. If a clansman occupied more 
than an eighth part of a davach of land, he also paid the 
chief a further duty, known as herezeld. The fundamental 
difference between the clan system of society and the feudal 
system which was destined to supersede it, was that tfie 
authority of the clan chief was based on personal and blood 
relationship, while that of the feudal superior is based upon 
tenure of land. 

Of the origin of the Highland costume not much Is 
known. The kilt is one of the primitive garments of the 
world ; it is one of the healthiest and probably the hand- 
somest, and there can be no question that for the active 
pursuits of the mountaineer it is without a rival. In its 
original form, as the belted plaid, it afforded ample 
protection in all weathers, while leaving the limbs 
absolutely free for the most arduous exertions. The 
earliest authentic mention of the kilt appears to be that in 
the Norse history of Magnus Barefoot, with whom Malcolm 
Canmore made his famous treaty. According to that 
document, written about the year 1097, Magnus, on 
returning from his conquest of the Hebrides, adopted the 
dress in use there, and went about bare-legged, having a 
short tunic and also an upper garment, " and so men 
called him Barefoot." Next, in the fifteenth century is 
the notice by John Major, the historian, who mentions that 
the Highland gentlemen of his day " wore no covering 
from the middle of the thigh to the foot, clothing them- 
selves with a mantle instead of an upper garment, and a 
shirt dyed with saffron." 

As for the tartan, in Miss Donaldson's Wanderings in 
the Highlands and Islands, a proposition is made that the 
numbers of colours employed had a relation to the rank of 
the wearer that eight colours were accorded to the service 
of the altar, seven to the king, and so on in diminishing 
number to the single dyed garment of the cumerlach or 
serf. In view, however, of the fact that all the members 
of a clan wear the same tartan, and that the tartans of 
some of the greatest clans contain but a small number of 


mlours such a theory obviously will not bear examination. 
The eadfest costumes of the clansmen appear to have been 
ot of tartan at all, but of plain colour, preferably saffron. 
Srta n earfy references, like that of Aldhelm Bishop of 
iherborne in 970, and that of Ossianwhcn describing ^ a 
Caledonian woman as appearing in robes * ^J"L 

of the shower " are by no means conclusive as reternng 
to artan As variety came to be desired, each clan would 
use the natural dyes most easily procured nl ff district 
and the easiest pattern to weave was one of simple warp 
and woof. By and by a clansman would come to be 
fdentified by the local pattern he wore, and before long 
hat patternwould come to be known as the tartan of h* 
clan Whether or not this describes the actual origin of 
the Highland tartans, there can be no question as to their 
sukab ifity for the purposes of the hunter and the warrior, 
whom y it was important to be as little Conspicuous as 
possible on a moor or mountain-side. It was also o value 
to the clansmen in battle, who required readily 
distinguish between friend and foe. After the last great 
Highland conflict at Culloden, it is said, the dead were 
identified by their tartans, the clansmen being buried, each 
with his own tribe, in the long sad trenches among ; tt 
heather. To the Highlander the garb of his forefathers 
has always justly counted for much Sir Walter Scott 
gave immortal expression to the feeling when he mad 
the Duke of Argyll and Greenwich exclaim to Jeanie 
Deans " The heart of MacCailean More will be as cold 
as death can make it, when it does not warm to the tartan. 


BADGE : Dearcag monaidh (vaccineum uligiuosuin) Bilberry. 
SLOGAN : Clairinch ! 

THE name of the Clan Buchanan is almost alone among 
those of Highland families in being derived, not from a 
personal ancestor, but from the lands on which the Clan 
was settled. These lands extended of old along the east 
shore of Loch Lomond, from the borders of Drymen parish 
northward for some eighteen miles, and included, besides 
Ben Lomond itself, as fine a stretch of country strath and 
mountain as any in the Highlands. Branches of the 
Clan also owned lands in the .neighbouring parish of 
Drymen, and on both sides of the Water of Endrick, which 
here enters the Queen of Scottish Lochs, as well as about 
Killearn and Balfron and further east at Arnpryor, near 
Kippen ; so that a good deal more than the actual parish 
of Buchanan may be considered as the old Buchanan 
country. Strange to say, however, this Buchanan 
country does not appear to have been the original territory 
owned by the Chiefs of the race in Scotland. According 
to the family historian, Buchanan of Auchmar, the 
founder of the race was a certain Anselan O'Kyan, of 
royal race, like that of the O'Neils in Ireland, who came 
over to escape troubles in the sister island about the year 
1016, and with his followers took service under Malcolm II., 
at that time engaged in his great struggle against the 
invading Danes. For his services in this struggle, 
Anselan was granted the lands of Buchanan in Stirling- 
shire and of Pitquhonidy and Strathyre in Perthshire. 
Anselan further secured his footing in the Buchanan 
country by marrying an heiress of the Dennistoun family, 
the lands he got by her including Drumquhassle on the 
Water of Endrick. 

MacAuslan remained for two centuries and a half the 
name of the Chiefs of the family, and it remains, of course, 
an independent surname to the present hour. The first 
of the race to be styled " de Buchanan " was Gillebrid, 
who was seneschal to the Earl of Lennox, and flourished 
in 1240. Meanwhile, in 1225 Macbeth, the father of 
Gillebrid de Buchanan, had obtained from Maelduin, Earl 
of Lennox, a charter for the island of Clarinch, near 



Facing page 8. 


Balmaha, and the name of this island afterwards became 
the slogan or battle-cry of the Clan. In 1282 Sir Maurice 
de Buchanan received from Donald, the sixth Earl of 
Lennox, a charter of the lands of Buchanan themselves, 
in which the Chief was granted the privilege of holding 
courts of life and limb within his territory, on condition 
that everyone sentenced to death should be executed on 
the Earl's gallows at Catter. The charter is printed in 
Irving's History of Dunbartonshire, and the stone in 
which the gallows tree was set is still to be seen beside the 
old judgment hill of Catter, on Endrickside. At a later 
day Catter was itself for many generations in possession of 
a family named Buchanan. 

During the wars of succession Maurice, the Chief of 
Buchanan, had the distinction of being one of the few 
notables of Scotland who would not sign the Ragman 
Roll, or swear allegiance to Edward I. of England. 
Another of the name, Malcolm de Buchanan, signed the 
bond, but the Chief stood firmly for the Independence of 
Scotland and the cause of Robert the Bruce. Auchmar 
records a tradition that, after the defeat at Dalrigh, Bruce 
was joyfully received in the Buchanan country by its Chief, 
that the King's Cave, near Inversnaid, takes its name from 
this episode, and that Buchanan with the Earl of Lennox 
afterwards conveyed the King to safety. 

From an early date the family of the Chiefs gave off 
branches, many of which remain of note to the present 
hour. Thus Allan, second son of Maurice, the ninth 
laird, married the heiress of Leny. His line ended in an 
heiress, Janet, who married John, son of the eleventh Chief 
of Buchanan, and became mother of the twelfth Chief. 
The eldest grandson of this pair distinguished himself in 
the wars abroad. After the battle of Agincourt, when 
France, on the strength of the " auld alliance," asked 
help from Scotland, and 7,000 men were sent over, Sir 
Alexander Buchanan went at the head of a number of 
his clan, and at the battle of Beauge" is said to have 
encountered the Duke of Clarence, and, escaping his 
thrust, to have pierced him through the left eye, and on his 
fall to have carried off his cap or coronet on his spear's 
point. The usual account is that Clarence was slain by 
the Earl of Buchan, Constable of France, but in telling 
the story, Buchanan of Auchmar quotes the book of 
Pluscardine Abbey, and declares that according to the 
family tradition it was for this service that the French 
King granted the Buchanan Chief the double tressure 
flory counterflory, which forms part of the Buchanan arms 


to the present day, and also for crest a hand holding 
a ducal cap. Sir Alexander Buchanan was himself 
afterwards killed at the battle of Verneuil in 1424. 

Sir Alexander's next brother, Sir Walter, became 
thirteenth Laird of Buchanan, while the third brother, 
John, inherited his grandmother's estate of Leny, and 
became ancestor of the Buchanans of that branch. 

From Thomas, third son of Sir Walter, the thirteenth 
Laird, who is stated by Auchmar to have married Isobel, 
a daughter of Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany, grandson 
of King Robert II., came the Buchanans of Carbeth. 
And from Thomas, second son of Patrick, the fourteenth 
Laird, came the Buchanans of Drumakil, with its branches, 
the Buchanans of The Moss, and others. 

An interesting story is told of the founding of the 
house of Buchanan of Arnpryor by John, second son of 
Walter, the fifteenth Chief, and a daughter of Lord 
Graham. In the days of James IV., Arnpryor was in 
possession of a laird of the Menzies family. This laird 
was childless, and as he began to be oppressed with 
years, a neighbour, Forrester of Cardin, on pretence of a 
false debt, threatened that, if he did not assign the estate 
and castle to him, he would attack and capture them by 
force of arms. In his distress Menzies appealed to the 
Chief of Buchanan, offering, in return for a guarantee of 
protection during his life, to leave his lands and estate to 
one of the Chief's family. The offer was accepted, the 
obligation faithfully carried out, and the estate duly left 
to the Chief's second son. 

Of the descendant of this individual, the Laird of Arn- 
pryor in the days of King James V., an amusing story is 
told. As the King's forester was returning to Stirling on 
a certain occasion with deer for the royal table, Arnpryor 
took the liberty of appropriating the venison for his own 
use. He would listen to no remonstrance, declaring with 
a laugh that if James was King of Scotland, he, Buchanan, 
was King of Kippen. The forester proceeded to Stirling, 
and laid his complaint before the King, and forthwith that 
monarch, so well known for his exploits in disguise as tRe 
Guidman of Ballingeich betook himself in person to the 
gates of Arnpryor. There he was roughly refused 
admittance by the porter, who informed him that the laird 
was at dinner, and could not be disturbed. James there- 
upon ordered the man to inform his master that the King 
of Scotland had come to dine with the King of Kippen. 
On receipt of the message Buchanan flew to the gate, and 
proceeded to make the most profuse and eager apologies. 


At this, it is said, the King only laughed. He forthwith 
joined the laird in partaking of his own royal venison, and 
for ever after Buchanan of Arnpryor was known as the 
King of Kippen. A signet ring, given by James, is still 
in possession of the Chief of Buchanan. 

Patrick, the sixteenth Chief of Buchanan, married a 
daughter of the Earl of Argyll, while John Buchanan of 
Leny married a daughter of the Earl of Menteith, and 
both fell at the battle of Flodden in 1513. The clan also 
fought bravely for Queen Mary at Pinkie in 1547 and at 
Langside in 1568. 

The latter event brought upon the stage Of Scottish 
history a member of the clan who must always remain 
famous as one of the greatest of Scottish scholars and men 
of letters. George Buchanan was the third son of Thomas 
Buchanan of Mid Leowen, now known as The Moss, on 
the water of Blane, some two or three miles south of 
Killearn. Thomas Buchanan was the second son of 
Buchanan of Drumakil, through whom he had the blood 
of a daughter of King Robert III. in his veins. His wife 
was Agnes Heriot, of the family of Trabroun in Hadding- 
tonshire, and his son George first saw the light in 
February, 1506. Thomas Buchanan of Mid Leowen died 
early, leaving his widow to struggle valiantly for the 
upbringing of her eight children by the frugal cultivation 
of the little estate. At the age of fourteen the future 
historian was sent by James Heriot, his mother's brother, 
to pursue his studies at Paris University, but two years 
later his uncle died, and he was forced to return home. 
He next joined the forces of the Duke of Albany, to try a 
soldier's career; but after the hardships of the winter 
retreat from Wark Castle suffered a severe illness, and 
gave up sword and buckler. He returned to his studies 
at St. Andrews and Paris, became preceptor to the young 
Earl of Cassillis, and afterwards to a natural son of 
James V. Attacking the corruptions of the Greyfriars in 
his poem " The Franciscan," he was forced to flee to 
France in 1539. There he became famous as the greatest 
of the Scottish scholars who occupied chairs in the 
continental universities. Among those who boasted of 
being his pupils was the celebrated Montaigne, while 
among his friends were the Scaligers, father and son. 
While imprisoned in Portugal by the Inquisition, he 
began his famous Latin paraphrase of the Psalms, and he 
afterwards gained the notice of Mary Queen of Scots by a 
poem on her marriage to the Dauphin. On her return to 
Scotland, the Queen chose Buchanan as her Latin tutor, 


and conferred upon him the temporalities of Crossraguel 
Abbey, worth 500 Scots a year. By Mary's brother, the 
Earl of Moray, he was made Principal of St. Leonard's 
College at St. Andrews, and from that time onward he 
remained a supporter of that personage. Upon the fall 
of the Queen he drew up his notorious " Detection " of 
her doings. Afterwards, under Moray, he was charged 
with the education of James VI., and many amusing stories 
are told of his discipline of his royal pupil. For a time 
he was Keeper of the Privy Seal, and for long he took a 
large part in the public affairs of the kingdom ; but he is 
chiefly remembered now by his two great literary works, 
the treatise, De Jure Regni apud Scotos and his Latin 
History of Scotland. He died on 28th September, 1582, 
and is esteemed as the last and greatest of the Latinists, 
and one of the first apostles of modern democracy. 

The scholarly tradition of the great Latinist and 
historian was followed by the twentieth Chief, Sir John 
Buchanan, who in 1618 mortified a sum of ^6,000 Soots 
for the maintenance of three students of theology in the 
University of Edinburgh, and a like sum for the main- 
tenance of three students in the University of St. Andrews. 
In the records of the Burgh of Dunbarton also, this same 
Sir John appears as the donor of various grants for the 
erection of a hospital there in 1635 and 1636. His wife 
was a daughter of Lord Cambuskenneth, grandson of 
the Earl of Mar. Sir George Buchanan, the twenty-first 
Chief, commanded the Stirlingshire Regiment in the 
Civil Wars of Charles I., fought at the battle of Dunbar, 
and was taken prisoner at Inverkeithing. 

The reign of John Buchanan, the twenty-second Chief, 
proved disastrous to his house. Some of his proceedings, 
as narrated by the family historian, possess not a little of 
the character of conventional melodrama. On the death 
of his first wife, Mary Erskine, daughter of Lord Cardross, 
he was left with a daughter, Elizabeth, who appears to 
have possessed a will of her own. First he attempted to 
make a match for himself with the daughter of Sir John 
Colquhoun of Luss, but the young lady jilted him and 
married Stirling of Keir, which threw Buchanan into a 
palsy that troubled him till his death. He next arranged 
a match between his daughter and the son of Buchanan 
of Arnpryor, and broke the entail of his estate in order 
to leave it to the pair ; but the plan was spoilt by the young 
lady refusing her consent. To punish her, he made a 
disposition of his estate to Arnpryor, but, going to Bath 
just then, fell in love with a Miss Jean Pringle, and 










married her. He thereupon cancelled the disposition, and 
made an enemy of Arnpryor. He next arranged a 
marriage for his daughter with his old friend, Major 
Grant, Governor of Dunbarton Castle, to whom he made 
a disposition of his estate; but again the girl indignantly 
refused. Grant and he thereupon arranged to sell the 
Highland part of the estate to clear it of debt. Arnpryor 
then, as Buchanan's man of business, so manipulated 
matters that at the death of the Chief in 1682, the whole 
estate had to be sold. It was acquired by the third 
Marquess of Montrose, grandson of the great Scottish 
general of Charles the First's time. Buchanan House, 
near the mouth of the Endrick, the ancient seat of the 
Chiefs, then became the seat of the Montrose family, 
and remained so till about 1870, when it was destroyed by 
fire, and was replaced by the present Buchanan Castle. 
Parts of the old mansion still remain, and possess 
considerable interest of their own. 

Elizabeth, daughter of the last Laird of Buchanan, it is 
interesting to note, married James Stewart of Ardvorlich, 
while her half-sister married Henry Buchanan of Leny. 

It was probably owing to the break in the direct line of 
the chiefship that the clan took no part in the Jacobite 
rebellions of 1715 and 1745, which perhaps was not an 
unfortunate circumstance for the bearers of the name. 

On the failure of the direct line, the representation of 
the ancient race fell to the nearest heir-male of the family. 
There is reason to believe that Auchmar's account of the 
clan, published in 1723, had really for its purpose the 
advocacy of its author's own claim to the chiefship as head 
of the most recent cadet branch of the family, and there- 
fore nearest in blood to the last of the main line. 
Nisbet in his Heraldry indicated a different destination. 
It was not till a hundred years later, however, that an 
authoritative claim was made. In that printed claim it 
was declared that the Auchmar branch of the family had 
become extinct, and that the chiefship had therefore fallen 
to the next nearest cadet branch, that of Buchanan of 
Spital or Easter Catter, the old estate of the Knights 
Templar in Drymen parish. This family had also come 
to possess the lands of an earlier cadet branch, that of 
Leny. Thomas Buchanan, tenth laird of Spital, had 
married, first, Katherine, ultimate heiress of Henry 
Buchanan of Leny, and secondly, Elizabeth, heiress of 
John Hamilton of Bardowie. His son, Colonel John 
Buchanan of Leny and Spital had, on inheriting the estate 
&f Bardowie, assumed the name of Hamilton. In 1818 


he was succeeded by his brother, Francis Buchanan, 
M.D., an author and man of science, who is said to have 
known more about India and its civil and natural history 
than any European of his time, and who also assumed 
the name Hamilton. On gth July, 1828, Dr. Buchanan 
was served heir male to his great-gt.-gt.-gt.-gt.-gt.-gt.- 
grandfather, Walter Buchanan of Spital, and established 
his claim, the Arnpryor branch being extinct, as Chief of 
the Clan Buchanan. The individual through whom he 
counted descent was Walter, third son of Walter, the 
fifteenth Chief of Buchanan, who became laird of the 
property of Spital in 1519, as well as from John, third 
son of the twelfth Chief, already mentioned. According 
to the tradition of the Leny family, it long held possession 
of these lands by the preservation of a small sword with 
which its ancestor first acquired them. Whoever had the 
custody of this weapon and a tooth of St. Fillan was 
presumed to have a right to the estate. The sword was 
abstracted from Leny in 1745. 

The Buchanans of Leny have had an even more 
turbulent history than the direct line of their original house 
on Loch Lomondside. One incident of that history is 
recorded on a tombstone still to be seen in the little 
kirkyard of Balquhidder, near Strathyre, in what was at 
one time the MacLaurin country. At a certain Fair in the 
Leny territory, it is said, a MacLaurin " innocent " 
suffered the indignity of being struck across the face with 
the tail of a new-caught salmon. The " innocent " could 
do little to avenge the insult, but with a loose tongue he 
declared that his assailant dared not try the same trick at 
the next fair in the MacLaurin country at Balquhidder. 
The episode was promptly forgotten by the " innocent," 
but Balquhidder Fair had scarcely begun when a band of 
Buchanans was seen coming, fully armed, up the road 
from Strathyre. Forthwith the Fiery Cross was sent 
round, the MacLaurins mustered, and a battle took place 
at Auchinleskine. The MacLaurins were getting the 
worst of it when their Chief saw his son cut down. Clay- 
more in hand, he shouted his battle-cry, his clan were filled 
with the " miri-cath," or madness of battle, and attacked 
so furiously that all the invading Buchanans were slain. 
The last two, who tried to escape by swimming the 
Balvaig, were shot with arrows, and the spot is still 
pointed out as the Linn-nan-Seichachan, the " pool of 

The Buchanans of Loch Lomondside were not, how- 
ever, without their feuds and tragedies. Walter, the first 


Laird of Spital, had an illegitimate brother, known as 
Mad Robert of Ardwill. This individual got his sobriquet 
from a curious incident. He had undertaken, under a 
heavy penalty, to secure a certain malefactor for the Laird. 
The malefactor died, and Robert's surety was called upon 
to pay up. Mad Robert, however, dug up the corpse, 
carried it to the Court, and duly claimed to have performed 
his undertaking. 

Of the various septs of the Clan, MacAuslans, Mac- 
Caimans, and others, many interesting stories might be 
told. Chief of these septs probably are the MacMillans, 
descended, it is believed, from Methlan, a brother of 
Gillebrid de Buchanan, the first of the surname, in the 
time of King Alexander II. The MacMillans originally 
lived around Loch Tay, with Lawers on the north shore 
for their chief seat. From that region, however, they were 
driven out by the Chalmerses in the reign of David II. 
The MacMillan Chief of that time had ten sons, who 
settled in various parts of the country. The Chief was 
MacMillan of Knapdale in Argyllshire, who, it is said, 
had a charter from the Lord of the Isles engraved on the 
top of a rock; and at the chapel of Kilmory, which was 
built by the family, is still to be seen the finely carved 
MacMillan's Cross. For the slaughter of an overbearing 
incomer, Marallach Mor, a son of MacMillan of Knapdale, 
had to leave the country, and settled beside Loch Arkaig 
in Lochaber, where, under the name of MacGille Veol, he 
and his descendants performed many doughty deeds as 
supporters of Lochiel. They could raise no fewer than a 
hundred fighting men to support that Chief's cause, and 
proved themselves ever ready to take part in the most 
desperate enterprises. The MacMillans are said to have 
lost their Knapdale estate by taking part with their 
superior, MacDonald of the Isles, in the cause of the rebel 
Earl of Douglas against King James II. in 1455. 

The MacCalmans derive their descent from a brother 
of Gillebrid and Methlan, who settled on Loch Etive side 
in the time of Alexander III., and there is evidence that 
John Ruskin, the famous writer, was one of the race. 

Another interesting branch of the Clan is that of 
Buchanan of Drumakil, now represented by Sir Alexander 
Leith Buchanan of The Ross on Loch Lomondside. This 
latter property was acquired in 1624 by Walter Buchanan 
of Drumakil, uncle or cousin of George Buchanan the 
historian, and it was within the walls of the mansion that, 
after the rebellion of 1745, the Marquis of Tullibardine, 
elder brother of the second Duke of Athol, was taken 


prisoner. On being seized, he is said to have uttered the 
prophecy, " There will be Murrays on the Braes of Atholl 
when there is never a Buchanan at The Ross ! ' And, 
sure enough, the male line of the Buchanans of The Ross 
presently came to an end. The heiress, Jean Buchanan of 
The Ross, married Hector, son of Colin MacDonald of 
Boisdale, who reunited by purchase different properties 
which had been alienated from the family estate. At his 
seat of Ross Priory, he frequently entertained his brother 
Clerk of Session, Sir Walter Scott, and the present laird 
is the grandson of his second daughter. 

Among more modern members of the Clan who have 
attained distinction are Douglas Buchanan, the Gaelic 
Cowper, who was a catechist at Kinloch Rannoch in 1755 ; 
Dr. Claudius Buchanan, who died in 1815, famous among 
the first of those who induced the British nation to 
send the blessings of education and religion to our Indian 
empire; Sir George Buchanan, the famous physician and 
scientist, whose reports are among the classics of sanitary 
literature; and Robert Buchanan, the famous poet and 
novelist of our own time. 

Still another chapter of the Clan's history may be said 
to have been begun by a holder of the name who left his 
native strath at the end of the seventeenth century. 
George Buchanan was the younger son of Andrew 
Buchanan, Laird of Gartacharan, near Drymen. Migrat- 
ing to Glasgow to push his fortune, he took part with the 
Covenanters at the battle of Bothwell Bridge, and had a 
reward set upon his head. After the Revolution, 
however, he appeared as a prosperous maltster in the 
town, and was second Deacon-Convener of the Trades' 
House, in the time of William and Mary. The old 
maltster had four sons, all of whom played a striking part 
in the foundation of Glasgow's prosperity. They were 
George Buchanan of Moss and Auchintoshan, Andrew 
Buchanan of Drumpellier, Archibald Buchanan of Silver- 
banks or Auchintorlie, and Neil Buchanan of Hillington. 
All four brothers became great Glasgow merchants, and 
built splendid mansions in the city. George was City 
Treasurer in 1726, Andrew became Dean of Guild and 
Lord Provost, and in 1725 the four brothers founded the 
Buchanan Society, now the oldest charitable institution in 
Glasgow, with the exception of Hutchesons' Hospital. 
The Society has a handsome income from funds of its own. 
It has supported many a promising youth of the Buchanan 
Clan or its septs through college to a useful career in the 
world, and the amount of solid good that it has done in 



the couple of centuries since it was founded must remain 
beyond computation. At the present hour the Society is 
a large and thriving brotherhood, and its annals, begun 
by the late Mr. Gray Buchanan, and now on the eve of 
publication under the editorship of Dr. R. M. Buchanan, 
are certain to excite wide interest, as they will form the 
latest chapter in the long history of this ancient Clan. 














































VOL. I. 


BADGB : Dearcag fithich (empitium nigrum) crowberry. 
SLOGAN : Chlanna nan con thigibh a so 's gneibh sibh feoil. 
PIBROCH : Locheil's March, also Ceann na drochait mohr. 

IN all the Highlands there is no clan more famous at once 
for valour and chivalry than Clan Cameron. Their deeds 
ofbravery in the Great Glen and out of it are not marked 
by the bloody ruthlessness which characterises so much 
West Highland story, and alike for the chivalry with 
which he took up the cause of Prince Charles Edward 
when it seemed a forlorn hope, and for the influence which 
he exercised on the Highlanders during the entire 
rebellion, the Gentle Lochiel, as he was called, of that 
time remains on the page of history a type of hig family 
and race. 

The name Cameron signifies Crooked Nose, and the 
story of the founder of the race remains embedded in the 
traditions of the West Highlands. In a corrupted form 
that story may be found in the opening chapter of James 
Ray's Compleat History of the Rebellion of 1745, and the 
present writer has heard it direct from the shepherds' 
firesides in Lochaber. The tradition runs that the first of 
the Camerons was not a Gael, but of British or Cymric 
race, and came originally from Dunbartonshire. Being a 
" bonnie fechter " he was engaged in many quarrels, 
and in one of these suffered the disfigurement which gave 
him the name which he handed on to his descendants. 
Dunbartonshire having become too hot for him, he made 
his way to far Lochaber. There the Chief of the 
MacFhearguises was at the time in danger of Seing over- 
come by a neighbouring clan with which he was at feud. 
He welcomed the stranger, and made him the offer of his 
daughter's hand and a fair estate for his assistance. This 
offer Cameron accepted, and, having vanquished his 
host's enemies, found a settlement in the neighbourhood 
which his descendants have retained to the present day. 
A quaint part of the tradition as detailed by Ray is that, 
at a critical stage of his adventure, Cameron betook 
himself to his old nurse at Dunbarton. This dame, who 



Facing page 18. 


was a noted witch, furnished her fos,ter-son with a parcel 
of thongs, which she told him to tie to a fox's tail. This 
fox he was to let loose, and all the land it should run over 
on its escape should become his. Further, it would be 
converted to the same sort of territory as the last which 
the thongs touched on his father-in-law's estate. The 
sequel may be given in Ray's own words. " That 
Cameron might have a good estate as well as a large one 
he let the fox loose upon a fine meadow just bordering 
upon MacDonald of Glengarry's estate, expecting to have 
all the promised land and that it would consist of fine 
meadows. The charms were performed with great 
ceremony, and the fox turned out as the old woman 
directed; and, that he might travel the faster and take 
the course they desired, they set dogs after him. The 
creature, glad of his liberty, and willing to preserve his 
life, endeavoured to elude their chase by running into a 
little brook which passed through the meadow where he 
was set at liberty. The dogs then entirely lost him, and 
he kept along the channel till he came to the estate of 
Glengarry. Water being the last thing the enchanted 
thongs touched, as fast as the fox ran the land was over- 
flowed, so that in the space of a few hours all the country 
for several miles together became one continued loch. 
The MacDonalds, affrighted at this sudden inundation, 
such of them as had time to escape removed their habita- 
tions higher up into the mountains, and left the lake and 
the adjacent hills to be peaceably enjoyed by Cameron and 
his followers. What became of the fox, or where he 
stopped, history does not relate, but from this origin it is 
called Lochiel, or the Lake of Thongs, from which the 
Chief of the Camerons takes his title." 

According to Ray, the founder of the name was Sir 
Hugh Cameron, and the chronicler is good enough, not- 
withstanding his strong prejudice against everything 
Jacobite, to say that there had been " a constant succession 
of great men down from Sir Hugh, Knight of the Wry 
Nose, to the present Lochiel, famous in the late Rebellion." 
From a later warrior, Donald Dhu, who flourished in the 
end of the fifteenth century, the Clan has also been known 
as the Race of Donald the Black, and it is from this 
ancestor that the usual Christian name of the chiefs of the 
present day is derived. There is also a tradition that 
Lochiel is not the eldest branch of the family, this having 
been known as the Clan MacGillean Obhi, an heroic tribe 
mentioned in some of the early poetic fragments ascribed 
to Ossian. According to this tradition, Lochiel acquired 


the family property in Lochaber by marriage with the Mac- 
Martins of Letterfinlay. The family genealogies assert, 
that the actual ancestor of the Cameron chiefs was Angus 
who married a sister of Banquo, Thane of Lochaber, slain 
by Macbeth in the eleventh century, and present a long 
Jine of chiefs descended from this worthy, who dis- 
tinguished themselves highly in the wars and other historic 
events .of the country. 

One of the most famous and desperate of the feuds in 
which the Camerons were engaged was that with Clan 
Chattan in the end of the fourteenth century, concerning 
the lands of Glenluie and Loch Arkaig, to which 
Macintosh, the chief of Clan Chattan, laid claim. In the 
course of this feud the Camerons penetrated as far as 
Invernahaven at the junction of the Truim and the Spey. 
There they were met by Macintosh at the head of a force 
of Macintoshes, MacPhersons, and Davidsons. Just 
before the battle a dispute took place between the 
Davidsons and MacPhersons, who each claimed the post 
of honour, the right to lead the host. Macintosh decided 
the delicate question in favour of the Davidsons, and as a 
result Cluny MacPherson in indignation withdrew his 
men. Thus weakened, Clan Chattan was defeated by the 
Camerons. That night, however, Macintosh sent to the 
camp of the MacPhersons one of his bards, who treated 
the sullen clansmen to a poem in which their conduct in 
retiring from the fight was attributed, not to their sense of 
honour, but to their cowardice. This so infuriated the 
MacPhersons that they made a surprise attack upon the 
Camerons, whom they defeated and pursued with great 
slaughter to the confines of Lochaber. One of the results 
of this encounter remains among the most famous episodes 
in Scottish history. The MacPhersons and the Davidsons 
proceeded to fight out their claims to precedence with cold 
steel, and presently the uproar among the clans became 
so great that the King sent the Earls of Crawford and 
Dunbar to quell it. In the end it was agreed that the 
matter should be decided by a combat between thirty men 
on each side, and the upshot was the famous battle within 
barriers on the North Inch of Perth, fought before King 
Robert III. in 1396. 

Among those who fought on the side of Donald, Lord 
of the Isles, at the battle of Harlaw in 1411, was John 
Cameron of Lochiel. The Camerons, however, afterwards 
found themselves at feud with the Island Lords, and in 
this feud suffered most severely, and were brought almost 
to extinction. It was in this emergency that the famous 


Chief, Donald Dhu, already referred to, achieved fame. 
Along with his son, the still more famous Alan Cameron, 
he restored the clan to a state of prosperity. Alan obtained 
from the Crown feudal charters of the lands of Loch 
Arkaig and Lochiel, to which the MacDonalds of Clan 
Ranald had laid claim, and by this means dealt a blow at 
these Lords of the Isles which materially helped their 
downfall. The same Chief engaged in another feud with 
the Macintoshes. At a later day he supported Ian 
Mudertach when that warrior assumed the chiefship of Clan 
Ranald, and he fought alongside the MacDonalds at Glen 
Lochy in 1544, when they defeated and killed Lord Lovat 
with nearly all his followers. In consequence of this last 
achievement the Earl of Huntly was sent into Lochaber 
with an overwhelming force, and, seizing Lochiel and 
MacDonald of Keppoch, carried them to Elgin, where 
they were both beheaded. 

Sixty-seven years later, still another disaster befell the 
Camerons. In the course of his mission to carry justice 
and pacification into the West Highlands, the Earl of 
Huntly had obtained certain rights of superiority over 
Lochiel's lands, and in 1594, when the Earls of Huntly 
and Errol, representing the Roman Catholic faction in the 
country, were making a stand against the Government, 
Lochiel's forces were ranged upon their side. The 
Camerons fought on that side at the battle of Glenlivat, 
where the Earl of Argyll, commanding the Protestant 
forces, was overthrown. For his distinguished, share in 
this battle Lochiel was outlawed, and lost part of his 
estate, which was never afterwards recovered. Nine years 
later Argyll attempted to wrest the superiority of the 
Camerons' lands in Lochaber from Huntly, Lochiel 
having agreed to become his vassal. On this occasion 
a number of the Camerons threw off their allegiance to 
Lochiel and entered into a plot to take his life. The 
Chief, however, laid an ambush for the plotters, slew 
twenty of them, and captured other eight. Again, for 
this, the Cameron Chief was outlawed, and Lord Gordon, 
Huntly's son, invading Lochaber, seized him, and 
imprisoned him at Inverness. 

Perhaps the most famous of all Highland chiefs was 
Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel. Born in 1629, and 
brought up by the covenanting Marquess of Argyll as a 
sort of hostage for his clan, he afterwards took the side of 
King Charles I. When Cromwell's forces overran the 
country, after the battle of Dunbar, Lochiel held stoutly 
out against them. Twice with greatly inferior forces he 


defeated the English invaders, and so continually did he 
harass the garrison at Inverlochy that he kept it in a state 
of siege till the Governor was glad at last to accept peace 
on Lochiel's own terms. The Chief accordingly marched 
to Inverlochy with pipes playing and banners flying. He 
was received with a guard of honour, entertained to a 
feast, and, on giving his word of honour to live in peace, 
was not only granted an indemnity for the crimes and 
depredations committed by his clan, but had all the loss 
sustained by his tenants made good, and received payment 
for the woods on his property which had been destroyed 
by the Inverlochy garrison. 

The story is told how in one of these fights Lochiel 
found himself in death grips with a gigantic English 
officer. They lay on the ground together, neither of them 
able to reach his weapon. At last the Englishman saw his 
chance, and reached out to recover his sword. As he did 
so he exposed his throat, and this the Chief in his 
extremity seized with his teeth and held till his opponent's 
life was extinct. When upbraided at a later day with the 
savage act, he declared it was the sweetest bite he had ever 
tasted. It is this Chief who is said to have slain with his 
own hand the last wolf ever seen in the Highlands of 
Scotland, and his hardihood may be gathered from the 
story that on one occasion, when sleeping out in the snow, 
having observed that one of his sons had rolled together a 
snowball for a pillow, he rose and kicked away the support, 
exclaiming, " Are you become so womanlike that you 
cannot sleep without this luxury? " It is told of him that 
on one occasion at a later day he attended the court of 
James VII. to obtain pardon for one of his clan. The 
King received him with honour, and granted his request ; 
then, purposing to make him a Knight, asked him for his 
own sword in order to give special point to the honour. 
But the sword was so rusted with the long rainy journey 
from Scotland that Lochiel found it impossible to draw it 
from its scabbard, whereupon, overwhelmed with shame 
before the courtiers, he burst into tears. The King, 
however, with ready tact, consoled him. " Do not regard 
it, my faithful friend," he said, " had the Royal cause 
required it your sword would have left the scabbard 
promptly enough." He then gave the Chief the accolade 
with his own royal weapon, wnich he forthwith bestowed 
upon him as a gift. A day came when Lochiel had an 
opportunity of proving the King's saying true. At the 
Revolution, when the Royal Standard was raised in the 
Highlands by Viscount Dundee, he joined the Jacobite 




army with his clan, and fought at Killiecrankie. After 
urging Dundee to give battle, with the words, " Fight, 
my lord, fight, if you have only one to three ! " he himself 
charged bareheaded and barefooted in front of his men, 
and contributed largely to the victory. He lived, how- 
ever, to see great changes, and died in 1719, at the age of 
ninety, never, after all, having lost a drop of blood in any 
of the fights in which he had been engaged. 

The son of this Chief joined the Earl of Mar's rising 
in 1715, and was forfeited for doing so, and it was his 
son again the grandson of Sir Ewen who was the Gentle 
Lochiel of 1745. But for him it is likely that the clans 
would never have risen for Prince Charles Edward. 
Courageous and loyal, with the highest sense of honour, 
he was held in the greatest esteem in the Highlands. 
When he went to meet the Prince at Borrodale he was 
determined to have nothing to do with a rising, and it 
was upon a generous impulse, touched by the forlornness 
of the royal adventurer, that, against his better judgment, 
he decided to throw in his lot with Charles. Following 
Lochiel's lead the other chiefs came in, and the standard 
was raised at Glenfinan. Throughout the rising it was 
his influence which restrained the Highlanders from acts 
of plunder and violence. On one occasion during the 
march to Derby, an Englishwoman who had hidden her 
boy in terror of the cannibal habits which were attributed 
to the Highland army, exclaimed as Lochiel entered her 
house, " Come out, my child, this man is a gentleman; 
he will not eat you 1 " Among other things it is said 
Lochiel prevented the sack of Glasgow, and for this 
reason the magistrates ordered that whenever Lochiel 
should visit the city he should be greeted by the ringing 
Of the bells. When the Jacobite cause was finally lost at 
Culloden he was severely wounded, but he escaped to 
France, where his royal master gave him command of a 
Scottish regiment. He died abroad in 1748. The events 
of that time are commemorated in the well-known piece of 
pipe-music, " Lochiel's away to France." It is pathetic 
to remember that the last victim of the Jacobite cause was 
Lochiel's brother, Dr. Archibald Cameron, who was 
arrested on the shore of Loch Katrine during a mission to 
this country when the Rebellion was over, and was tried 
and executed as a deterrent. 

Another member of the clan who figures scarcely less 
notably in the literature of that time is Mistress Jean 
Cameron. This lady, as tutor for her nephew, Cameron 
of Glendessarie, in person brought a large body of the 


Camerons to join the Prince's Standard at Glenfinan. 
The Hanoverian annalists of the time, like Ray, have 
taken outrageous liberties with her reputation. Many 
writers, like Fielding in his Tom Jones, make suggestive 
references to her career. It is certain, however, that at 
least one other individual traded upon and besmirched her 
name. This person, according to Chambers' Traditions 
of Edinburgh, represented herself as a cast-off mistress of 
the Prince, and after imposing upon the sympathies 
and support of Edinburgh Jacobites, died in a stair foot 
of the Canongate. She masqueraded in men's clothes 
and had a timber leg. The actual Mistress Jean 
Cameron of Glendessarie, however, had a character 
above reproach. She was a good deal older than the 
Prince. In later life she settled at Mount Cameron 
in East Kilbride, and, according to Ure's History of 
that parish, she died and was buried there in all the 
odour of respectability. 

The grandson of the Gentle Lochiel, another Donald 
Cameron, was a Captain in the Guards, and married the 
Lady Vere. His descendant again, the father of the 
present Chief, married a daughter of the fifth Duke of 
Buccleuch. And the present Chief himself, who succeeded 
in 1905, married Lady Hermione Graham, daughter of 
the fifth Duke of Montrose. Lochiel has had a dis- 
tinguished career. He served in South Africa during the 
war in 1899 and in 1901-2. In 1901 he was aide-de-camp 
to the Governor of Madras; and he was a Captain in the 
Grenadier Guards till his marriage in 1906. He has also 
essayed politics, having contested Sutherlandshire in the 
Unionist interest in 1910. In all matters in which the 
welfare of the Highlands is concerned he takes an active 
part, and in the great emergency of the war of 1914 he 
came forward in a fashion worthy of his ancestors and 
characteristic of the Cameron clan, and raised four 
additional battalions of Cameron Highlanders for active 
service. One of these he himself commanded, and the 
esteem in which he is held was proved by the fact that the 
men required came forward to join the colours within a 
few days after the announcement that Lochiel had received 
the commission. Among other achievements, he led his 
Camerons in the tremendous charge at Loos in which his 
two brothers and so many clansmen fell. It is amply 
evident that the present Cameron Chief is as loyal and as 
active in his country's service as any of his ancestors, and 
against his name there falls to be written yet another most 
notable chapter in the history of the clan. 














Chalmers Clarkson 

Clarke Kennedy 

MacGillonie MacChlery 

MacKail Macildowie 

MacMartin MacOnie 

MacOurljc MacPhail 

MacSorley MacUlric 

Macvail MacWalrick 

Martin Paul 

Sorley Taylor 


BADGE : Garbhag an t-sleibhe (lycopodium selago) Fir club moss. 
SLOGAN : Cruachan. 

PIBROCH : Failte '^harcuis, also Baile lonaraora, and Cumha 

BEHIND Torrisdale in Kintyre rises a mountain named 
Ben an Tuire, the " Hill of the Boar." It takes its name 
from a famous incident of Celtic legend. There, accord- 
ing to tradition, Diarmid O'Duibhne slew the fierce boar 
which had ravaged the district. Diarmid was of the time 
of the Ossianic heroes. The boar's bristles were 
poisonous, and a rival for his lady's love induced him to 
measure the hide with his naked feet. One of the bristles 
pricked him, and in consequence he died. 

Diarmid is said to have been the ancestor of the race of 
O'Duibhne who owned the shores of Loch Awe, which 
were the original Oire Gaidheal, or Argyll, the " Land of 
the Gael." The race is said to have ended in the reign of 
Alexander III. in an heiress, Eva, daughter of Paul 
O'Duibhne, otherwise Paul of the Sporran, so named 
because, as the king's treasurer, he was supposed to carry 
the money-bag. Eva married a certain Archibald or 
Gillespie Campbell, to whom she carried the possessions 
of her house. This tradition is supported by a charter of 
David II. in 1368, which secured to the Archibald 
Campbell of that date certain lands on Loch Awe " as 
freely as these were enjoyed by his ancestor, Duncan 

Who the original Archibald Campbell was remains a 
matter of dispute. By some he is said to have been a 
Norman knight, by name De Campo Bello. The name 
Campo Bello is, however, not Norman but Italian. It is 
out of all reason to suppose that an Italian ever made his 
way into the Highlands at such a time to secure a footing 
as a Highland chief; and the theory is too obviously one 
of the common and easy and nearly always wrong deriva- 
tions of a name by mere similarity of sound. Much more 
probable seems a derivation from a personal characteristic 
in the usual Gaelic fashion. In this case the derivation 



Facing page 26. 


would be from cam beul, " crooked mouth," in the same 
way as the name Cameron is derived from cam sron, 
" crooked nose." 

For a century and a half the MacArthurs of Strachur, 
on the opposite shore of Loch Fyne, appear to have been 
regarded as the senior branch of the clan. They certainly 
were the most powerful, and Skene in his Highlanders of 
Scotland says it is beyond question that they held the 
chief ship. Their claim may have been derived through 
marriage with a co-heiress of the O'Duibhnes. But with 
the execution of the MacArthur chief by James I. at 
Inverness in 1427 the Campbells were left as the chief 
family of the race of Diarmid. 

Colin Mor Campbell of Lochow was knighted by 
Alexander III. in 1380, and it is from him that the suc- 
ceeding chiefs of the race to the present day have been 
known as " Mac Cailean Mor." Colin the Great himself 
lies buried in the little kirkyard of Kilchrenan above the 
western shore of Loch Awe, where his descendant, a recent 
Duke of Argyll, placed over his resting-place a stone 
bearing the inscription, " To the memory of Cailean Mor, 

slain on the Sraing of Lome 13 ." High on the hill 

ridge opposite, on the eastern side of the loch, a cairn 
marks the spot at which the doughty warrior, in the hour 
of victory, pursuing his enemy, MacDougall of Lome, too 
far, was overcome and fell. 

It was the son of this chief, Nigel or Neil Campbell, 
who, espousing the cause of Robert the Bruce, brought 
his family on to the platform of the great affairs of 
Scottish history. He befriended the king in his early 
wanderings, accompanied him in his winter's exile in 
Rachryn Island, and fought for him at Bannockburn, and 
as a reward he received in marriage Bruce's sister, the 
Princess Mary or Marjorie, while the forfeited lands of 
David de Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl, were settled on their 
second son. From that hour the fortunes of the 
Campbells received hardly a check. Having helped, at 
the Bridge of Awe, to overthrow Bruce's enemies, the 
powerful Lords of Lome and of Argyll, they proceeded 
piecemeal to supplant them and their kinsmen, the 
MacDonalds, and secure their lands. In some cases they 
compelled or induced the owners of these lands to assume 
the Campbell name. Thus the Campbells of Craignish, 
though stated to be descended from Dougall, an illegiti- 
mate son of a Campbell of the twelfth century, are 
universally understood to have borne the name Mac- 
Eachern, and to have been a branch of the MacDonalds. 


In the reign of Bruce's son, David II., the next Chief 
of the Campbells, Sir Nigel's son, again played an 
important part. It was when the entire country was over- 
run by Edward Baliol and his English supporters. 
Robert, the young High Stewart, suddenly broke out of 
concealment in Bute, and stormed the strong castle of 
Dunoon. In this enterprise, which inspired the whole 
country to rise and throw off the yoke of the invader, the 
Stewart was splendidly helped by Colin Campbell of 
Lochow. As a reward the Campbell Chief was made 
hereditary governor of the stronghold, with certain lands 
to support the dignity. This grant brought the Campbells 
into conflict with the Laments, who were owners of the 
surrounding Cowal district, and in course of time they 
supplanted them in considerable possessions the kirk of 
Kilmun, for instance, where they first begged a burial- 
place for a son whose body could not be carried through 
the deep snows to Inveraray, and which remains the 
Argyll burying-place to the present hour; also Strath 
Echaig at hand, which was obtained from Robert III. as 
a penalty for the sons of the Lament Chief beating off and 
slaying some young gallants from the court at Rothesay, 
who were trying to carry away a number of young women 
of Cowal. 

Colin Campbell's grandson, another Sir Colin, further 
advanced his family by marrying a sister of Annabella 
Drummond, the queen of Robert III., and his son, Sir 
Duncan, married, first a daughter of Robert, Duke of 
Albany, son of Robert II. and Regent of Scotland, and 
secondly a daughter of Sir Robert Stewart of Blackball, a 
natural son of Robert III. He was one of the hostages 
for the redemption of James I. from his English captivity 
in 1424, and at that time his annual revenue was stated to 
be fifteen hundred merks, a greater income than that of 
any of the other hostages. A further sign of his 
importance, he was made by James I. Privy Councillor, 
the King's Justiciary, and Lieutenant of the county of 
Argyll, and by James II., in 1445, he was raised to the 
dignity of a Lord of Parliament by the title of Lord 

It was Lord Campbell's eldest son, Celestine, for whom 
a grave was begged for the Lamont Chief at Kilmun. 
The second son died before his father, leaving a son, 
Colin, who succeeded as second Lord Campbell, and 
became first Earl of Argyll, while the third son obtained 
the lands of Glenurchy, formerly a possession of the 
MacGregors, and founded the great family of the 


Facing page 28. 


Campbells of Glenurchy, Earls and Marquesses of 

Hitherto the seat of the Campbells of Lochow had been 
the stronghold of Inchconnel, which still stands on the 
island of that name, amid the waters of the loch; but 
Glenurchy built for his nephew the first castle at 
Inveraray, which continued to be the headquarters of the 
family for four centuries. At the same time, during his 
absence abroad, his wife is said to have built for him, on 
an islet in the northern part of Loch Awe, the strong castle 
of Kilchurn, which remains to the present day one of the 
most picturesque features of the Highlands. Thenceforth 
the history of the Campbells of Breadalbane forms a 
separate and highly interesting chapter by itself. 

Meanwhile the younger sons of each generation had 
become the founders of other notable families. The 
second son of Cailean Mor settling on Loch Tayside had 
founded the family of Campbell of Lawers, afterwards 
Earls of Loudoun, while the fourth son had been made by 
Robert the Bruce, Constable of Dunstaffnage, a post held 
by his descendant to the present day, and the fifth son, 
Duncan, is believed to have been ancestor of the 
Campbells of Inverurie, from whom sprang the families of 
Kilmartin, Southall, Lerags, and others. The third son 
of Sir Nigel Campbell had founded the house of Menstric, 
near Stirling. The second son of Sir Colin, the hero of 
Dunoon, had become ancestor of the families of Barbreck 
and Succoth. The second son of Sir Colin, the fifth laird, 
and Margaret Drummond, was ancestor of the Campbells of 
Ardkinglas and their branches, the houses of Ardentinny, 
Dunoon, Skipnish, Blythswood, Shawfield, Dergachie, 
and others. And younger sons of Sir Duncan, first Lord 
Campbell, became ancestors of the Campbells of Auchen- 
breck, Glen Saddell, Eileangreig, Ormidale, and others. 

Colin, second Lord Campbell, in view of his power and 
importance in the west, was made Earl of Argyll by 
James II. in 1457. He was appointed Master of the 
Household of James III. in 1464. He acted as ambassador 
to England and France, and finally was made Lord High 
Chancellor of Scotland. By his marriage also he made 
conquest of another great lordship. His wife was the 
daughter and co-heir of John Stewart, Lord of Lome, and 
by a forced settlement with the lady's uncle, Walter 
Stewart, he obtained in 1470 a charter of the lands and 
title of that lordship. Since that time the Galley of 
Lome has by right of descent from the MacDougalls of 
Lome, figured in the Campbell coat of arms. The Earl's 


second son founded the house of Campbell of Lundie, 
while his seven daughters made alliances with some of 
the most powerful nobles and chiefs in the country. 

Archibald, second Earl of Argyll, was the leader of 
the vanguard of James IV.'s army at the disastrous battle 
of Flodden. At the head of the Highland clans and 
Islesmen he made the victorious rush with which the 
battle opened, but as the clansmen scattered to seize their 
plunder, the English cavalry charged on their flank, the 
Earl fell, and they were cut to pieces. Most notable of 
the families founded by his sons was that of Cawdor, 
who are Earls of Cawdor at the present time. As 
Justiciar of Scotland the Earl did a service to Rose 
of Kilravock, for which he received the custody of 
Kilravock's granddaughter, the infant Muriel, heiress of 
the thanedom of Cawdor. The messenger sent to bring 
the child south had to fight a battle with her seven Cawdor 
uncles. Some suspicion of Campbell methods seems to 
have been in the mind of the child's grandmother, old 
Lady Kilravock, for before handing her over to Campbell 
of Inverliver she thrust the key of her coffer into the fire 
and branded her on the thigh. Afterwards, when 
Inverliver was asked what he would think if the child that 
had cost him so much trouble should die, he is said to 
have replied, " Muriel of Cawdor will never die, so long 
as there is a red-haired lassie on the shores of Loch Awe." 
The Earl married Muriel to his third son, Sir John, 
who acquired Islay and played a considerable part in the 
affairs of his time. Among other matters he stabbed in 
his bed in Edinburgh, Maclean of Duart, who had exposed 
his wife, Cawdor's sister, on a rock in Loch Linnhe, to 
be drowned by the tide. From the second Earl descended 
the families of Ardchattan, Airds, Cluny, and others, and 
from his brother Donald, Abbot of Cupar, Keeper of the 
Privy Seal, came the Campbells of Keithock in Forfar- 

Colin, third Earl of Argyll, was by James V. appointed 
Master of the Household, Lieutenant of the Border, 
Warden of the Marches, Sheriff of Argyll, and Justice- 
General of Scotland. His second son, John Gorm, who 
was killed at the battle of Langside, was ancestor of the 
families of Lochnell, Barbreck, Balerno, and Stonefield, 
and his daughter Elizabeth was the wife of the notorious 
Regent Earl of Moray, half-brother of Mary Queen of 

Archibald, the fourth Earl, was appointed Justice- 
General of Scotland by James V., and was the first person 


of importance in Scotland to embrace the Protestant faith. 
He commanded the Scottish right wing at the battle of 
Pinkie in 1547. The fifth Earl, another Archibald, 
married a natural daughter of James V. His countess 
was the favourite half-sister of Queen Mary, was one of 
the Queen's supper-party at Holy rood when Rizzio was 
murdered, and acted as proxy for Elizabeth of England at 
the baptism of James VI. She and the Earl entertained 
the Queen at Dunoon Castle, and the Earl was commander 
of Mary's army at the battle of Langside. On that 
occasion, whether by sickness or treachery at the critical 
moment, he caused the loss of the battle to the Queen. He 
was afterwards appointed one of her lieutenants in 
Scotland, was a candidate for the regency, and became 
Lord High Chancellor. 

His half-brother, Sir Colin Campbell of Boquhan, 
who succeeded as sixth Earl, was also, in 1579, appointed 
Lord High Chancellor. His son, Archibald, the seventh 
Earl, had a curious career. In 1594, at the age of eighteen, 
he was sent by James VI. to repress the Roman Catholic 
Earls of Errol and Huntly, and at the battle of Glenlivat 
was completely defeated by them. He afterwards engaged 
in suppressing an insurrection of the MacDonalds, with 
whom his family had so long been at enmity, and 
distinguished himself by repressive acts against those 
other neighbours, the MacGregors, whom his family had 
for long been ousting, with the result that he nearly 
exterminated them. He is suspected of having instigated 
them to attack the Colquhouns, and after the battle of 
Glenfruin, it was he who secured the MacGregor Chief by 
first fulfilling his promise to convey him safely out of 
the country, and then, when he had crossed the Border, 
arresting and bringing him back to Edinburgh to be tried 
and executed. In his later years he went to Spain, became 
a Roman Catholic, and took part jn the wars of Philip II. 
against the States of Holland. 

His son, Archibald, the eighth Earl and first and last 
Marquess, for a time held supreme power in Scotland. 
Known as Gillespie Grumach, and as the Glied or 
squinting Marquess, he was at the head of the Covenanting 
Party, and had for his great rival and opponent the 
Royalist Marquess of Montrose. In 1633 ne resigned 
into the hands of Charles I. the whole Justiciarship of 
Scotland except that over his own lands, and in 1641 was 
raised to the rank of Marquess of Argyll by that king. 
Nevertheless he was the chief opponent of Charles in the 
Crvit War in Scotland. In the field he was no match for 


his brilliant opponent Montrose. At Kilsyth his army 
was completely defeated, and at Inverlochy, where he took 
to his barge and watched the battle from a safe distance, 
he saw the Royalist general cut his army to pieces, and 
slay fifteen hundred of his clan. Among his acts in the 
war was the burning of the " Bonnie House o' Airlie,*' 
the home of Montrose's follower, the chief of the 
Ogilvies ; for which act Montrose marched across the hills 
and gave Argyll's own stronghold, Castle Campbell in 
the Ochils above Dollar, to the flames. When Montrose 
was at last defeated at Philiphaugh, the captured Royalists 
were slain in cold blood in the courtyard of Newark Castle 
and elsewhere, and when Montrose himself was captured 
later, Argyll watched from a balcony in the Canongate as 
his enemy was led in rags up the street to his trial and 
execution. Then Argyll sent the army of the Covenant 
to destroy those old enemies of his family, the MacDonalds 
of Kintyre, and the MacDougalls of Dunolly, slaughtering 
the three hundred men of the garrison of Dunavertie, and 
burning the MacDougall strongholds of Dunolly and 
Gylen, while in Cowal he plundered the lands of the 
Lamonts, and had over two hundred of the clan butchered 
at Dunoon. When the young Charles II. came to 
Scotland in 1651 Argyll himself placed the crown on his 
head, and is said to have planned to get Charles to marry 
his own daughter, Anne. But after Cromwell's victory at 
Dunbar he assisted in proclaiming him as Protector, and 
engaged to support him. It could be no marvel, therefore, 
that at the Restoration in 1660 Charles II. resisted his 
advances, and that he was presently seized at Carrick 
Castle on Loch Goil, carried to Edinburgh, and tried and 
beheaded for his acts. 

James Campbell, a younger half-brother of the 
Marquess, was created Earl of Irvine in 1642, but as he 
had no family the peerage expired with him. 

The Marquess' son, Archibald, was restored to the 
earldom and estates in 1663, but in 1681, having refused 
to conform to the Test Act, he was condemned and 
imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle. He made a romantic 
escape disguised as a page holding up the train of his 
stepdaughter, Lady Sophia Lindsay. But four years 
later, in concert with Monmouth's invasion of England, 
he landed in Loch Fyne, raised a force, and was marching 
upon Glasgow when, his force having dispersed, he was 
seized, disguised, at Inchinnan in Renfrewshire, and 
carried to execution at Edinburgh. A famous picture of 
the occasion commemorates " the last sleep of Argyll." 


Of the Earl's four sons the second, John Campbell of 
Mamore, was forfeited for taking part in his father's 
expedition, but had his forfeiture rescinded at the Revolu- 
tion in 1689, and represented Argyll in the Scottish 
Parliament in 1700 and Dunbarton in the first Parliament 
of the United Kingdom. The third son, Charles, forfeited 
and reinstated in the same way, represented Campbel- 
town in the Parliament of 1700. He married Lady Sophia 
Lindsay, the stepdaughter who had helped his father to 
escape from his first imprisonment in Edinburgh Castle. 
The fourth son, James, of Burnbank and Boquhan, in 
1690 forcibly carried off Mary Wharton, an heiress of 
thirteen, and married her. The marriage was annulled by 
Act of Parliament, and one of Campbell's accomplices, 
Sir John Johnston, Bart., of Caskieben, was executed at 
Tyburn ; but the chief perpetrator escaped to Scotland, to 
become a colonel of dragoons and represent Campbeltown 
in Parliament. He afterwards married the Hon. Margaret 
Leslie, daughter of Lord Newark. 

Meanwhile the eldest son, Archibald, was one of the 
commissioners sent to offer the crown to William of 
Orange. The attainder against his father was reversed 
at the Revolution, and he was by King William created 
Duke of Argyll, with remainder to his heirs male whatso- 
ever. He raised a Highland regiment which distinguished 
itself in King William's continental wars. 

His son, John, the second Duke, was one of the 
greatest men of his time. A rival of Marlborough in the 
continental wars of Queen Anne, he commanded George 
I.'s army at the battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715, and through 
lis energy and ability preserved Scotland for that king, 
tn 1719 he was made Duke of Greenwich, and in 1735 
Field-Marshal commanding all the forces of the kingdom. 
A great statesman as well as a soldier, he is referred to 
)y Pope : 

" Argyll, the state's whole thunder born to wield, 
And shake alike the senate and the field." 

And it is he who figures in Sir Walter Scott's Heart of 
Midlothian, as the minister to whom Jeanie Deans appeals 
o secure the pardon of her erring sister, Effie. Among 
lis honours he was a Knight of the Garter and a Knight 
Df the Thistle, and his monument remains in Westminster 

As the Duke had no son his British titles died with 
lim, and he was succeeded in the Scottish honours by his 
Brother, Archibald, Earl of Islay. The third Duke had 

VOL. i. c 


served under Marlborough and studied law at Utrecht. 
He became Lord High Treasurer of Scotland in 1705 and 
promoted the Union with England. He was made Lord 
Justice General in 1710, and Lord Register in 1714. He 
raised Argyllshire for George I. and fought under his 
brother at Sheriffmuir. He became Walpole's chief 
adviser in Scotland, and keeper successively of the privy 
seal and the great seal. For long he was the greatest 
man in Scottish affairs, and it was he who rebuilt 
Inveraray Castle on its present site. In his time the 
strength of the clan was estimated at 5,000 fighting 
men, and it sent a contingent to fight against Prince 
Charles Edward at Culloden. 

After him the dukedom went to his cousin, John 
Campbell of Mamore, son of the second son of the ninth 
earl. His second son was killed at the battle of Langfeldt 
in 1747 and his third son became Lord Clerk Register of 
Scotland. His eldest son, John, the fifth Duke, married 
Elizabeth Gunning, widow of the sixth Duke of Hamilton, 
one of the three sisters who were celebrated beauties at 
the court of George III. She was the wife of two dukes, 
and the mother of four, and was created Baroness 
Hamilton in her own right in 1776. Her second and third 
sons by the Duke of Argyll became successively sixth and 
seventh Dukes. The latter was a friend of Madame de 
Stael, who pictured him as Lord Nevil in her famous 
novel, Corinne. His son, George, the eighth Duke, was 
the distinguished statesman, orator, scholar, and author 
of Queen Victoria's time. Three times married, and three 
times Lord Privy Seal, he also filled the offices of 
Postmaster-General, Secretary for India, Chancellor of St. 
Andrew's University, and Trustee of the British Museum. 
Among his honours he was K.G., K.T., P.C., D.C.L., 
L.L.D., and F.R.S., and among his writings were 
valuable works on science, religion, and politics. H( 
bequeathed lona Cathedral to the Church of Scotland. 

He and his eldest son, John, the ninth Duke, inherit* 
much of the personal beauty of their ancestor, Elizabeth 
Gunning, and when the latter in 1871 married H.R.H. the 
Princess Louise, fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, the 
pair were as distinguished for their fine looks as for their 
high rank. For ten years, as Marquess of Lome, he 
represented Argyllshire in the House of Commons, and 
for a term he was Governor-General of Canada. He held 
many honours, and was the author of some interesting 
literary works. 

The present Duke, Niall Diarmid, is the son of his 



next brother. His Grace is deeply interested in Highland 
affairs, and faithful to all the traditions of a Highland 

Apart from members of the main Campbell line, 
members of the race have been famous in many arenas. 
Thomas Campbell, the poet, was of the Kilmartin family, 
a Campbell of Stonefield and a Campbell of Succoth have 
been Presidents of the Court of Session. The Army, the 
Navy, politics, the Church, and probably most other 
spheres of national service and distinction, have derived 
lustre from members of this great clan, and round the 
world there is no name better known than that of the sons 
of Diarmid of the Boar. 






























Ta wesson 



BADGE : Roid (Sweet Gale) or Garbhag an t-sleibh (lycopodium 

selago) Fir club moss. 
SLOGAN : Siol Diarmid an tuirc, The race of Diarmid of the 

PIBROCH : Bodach na briogais. 

PROBABLY no Highland family has been so prolific in cadet 
branches of distinction as the great race of the Campbells. 
From the earliest date at which authentic history dawns 
upon their race they are found multiplying and establish- 
ing new houses throughout the land. At the present hour 
scions of the name hold the earldoms of Cawdor and 
Loudon as well as the baronies of Blythswood and 
Stratheden, and no fewer than seven separate baronetcies. 
The steps in the growth of this great house are in every 
generation full of interest, and involve in their narration no 
small part of the romance of Scottish history. 

The rise of the family began with a fortunate marriage 
in the twelfth century. With the hand of Eva, daughter 
of the O'Duibhne Chief, Gillespie Campbell acquired the 
lordship of Lochow, and brought into his family the blood 
of the Ossianic hero Diarmid of eight centuries earlier 
still. In 1280 Colin Campbell, the chief of the name, 
was knighted by Alexander III. He was the " Great " 
Colin from whom the chiefs of the family of the later times 
have taken the name of " MacCailein Mor." He fell in 
conflict with the MacDougals on the Sraing of Lome, 
and his body lies in the little kirkyard of Kilchrennan, 
above Loch Awe. His eldest son was that Sir Nigel or 
Neil Campbell who joined Robert the Bruce at the begin- 
ning of his great struggle, and was rewarded with the ham 
of the king's sister, and the forfeited lands of the Earl of 
Atholl. His eldest son, again, the second Sir Colin Camp- 
bell of Lochow, helped the High Steward of Scotland, 
afterwards King Robert II., to recover the Castle of 
Dunoon from the adherents of Edward Baliol the first 
stroke in the overthrow of that adventurer; and in con- 
sequence was made hereditary governor of that royal 
stronghold. His grandson, still another Sir Colin, married 
Margaret, daughter of Sir John Drummond of Stobhall, 



Facing page 36. 


and sister of Annabella, Queen of Robert III., and, partly 
through this royal connection his eldest son, Duncan, was 
made, first, Lord Lieutenant of Argyll by his cousin James 
I., and in 1445 was raised to the peerage as Lord Campbell 
by James II. He linked his family still more closely to the 
royal house by marrying Lady Marjorie Stewart, daughter 
of Robert, Duke of Albany, and granddaughter of King 
Robert II. On the death of his eldest son, Celestine, at 
school, he begged a burying-place at Kilmun from the 
Lamont Chief because the snows were too deep for the 
body to be carried to Lochow; and from that time to this 
Kilmun has been the burying-place of the Campbell chiefs. 

While the main stem of the family was carried on by 
Lord Campbell's second son's son, Colin, who became 
ist Earl of Argyll in 1457, it was his third son, another 
Sir Colin, who founded the greatest of all the branches 
of the Campbells, that of Glenorchy and Glenfalloch, the 
head of which is now Earl of Breadalbane. So well 
had the heads of the house improved their fortunes that 
Lord Campbell was probably the richest noble in Scotland. 
When he became one of the hostages for the redemption 
of James I. in 1424, his annual revenue was stated to be 
fifteen hundred merks. He was well able, therefore, to 
endow his third son with the lands of Glenorchy and Glen- 
falloch in 1432. 

Sir Colin Campbell of Glenorchy was one of the ablest 
men of his time. As guardian of his nephew, afterwards 
Earl of Argyll, he built for him the castle of Inveraray, 
and married him to the eldest daughter and co-heir of 
John Stewart, Lord of Lome. He himself had married, 
first, Mariot, daughter of Sir Walter Stewart, eldest son 
of Murdoch, Duke of Albany, grandson of Robert II.; 
and on her death he married Margaret, the second daughter 
of the Lord of Lome. By these marriages uncle and 
nephew not only acquired between them the great estates 
of the Stewart Lords of Lome, but also placed upon their 
shields the famous lymphad, or galley, which betokened 
descent from the famous Somerled, Lord of the Isles. 

Sir Colin, who was born about the year 1400, was a 
famous warrior, fought in Palestine, and was made a 
knight of Rhodes. The tradition runs that while he was 
away his wife built for him the castle of Kilchurn on its 
peninsula at the end of Loch Awe. He was so long absent 
that it was said he was dead, and the lady, like Penelope in 
the classic tale, was besieged by suitors. After long delays 
a neighbouring baron, MacCorquodale, it is said, forced 
her to a marriage. While the marriage feast was going 


on, a beggar came to the door. He refused to drink the 
health of the bride unless she herself handed him the cup. 
This she did, and as the Ueggar drank and returned it 
she gave a cry, for in the bottom lay Sir Colin's signet- 
ring. The beggar was Sir Colin himself, returned just in 
time to rescue his wife. 

' After the assassination of James I. at Perth, Glenurchy 
captured one of the assassins, Thomas Chalmer of Lawers, 
on Loch Tay side, and as a reward he received a grant 
of the murderer's forfeited estate. His son and successor, 
Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy, further added to the 
importance of his family by acquiring the estates of Glen- 
lyon, Finlarig, and others on Loch Tay side. When he 
married Margaret, daughter of George, fourth earl of 
Angus, in 1479, he obtained with her a dowry of six 
hundred merks, and he fell with James IV. at Flodden in 

His eldest son and successor, again, Sir Colin Campbell 
of Glenurchy, married Marjorie Stewart, daughter of John, 
Earl of Atholl, half brother of James II., her mother being 
Margaret Douglas, that Fair Maid of Galloway, who, as 
heiress of her ancient house, played such a strange 
romantic part in the story of her time. 

Sir Colin, the youngest of the three sons who succeeded 
him, sat in the Scottish Parliament of 1560, and played an 
active part in furthering the Reformation. Till his time 
the lands of Breadalbane had belonged to the Carthusian 
Monastery at Perth founded by James I. Sir Colin first 
obtained a tack of these lands, and afterwards had them 
converted into a feu holding. He was a great builder of 
houses, and besides a noble lodging in Perth erected 
Edinample on Loch Earn, and in 1580 founded at the 
eastern end of Loch Tay the splendid family seat of 
Balloch, now known as Taymouth Castle. The site of 
this stronghold is said to have been settled in a curious 
way, Sir Colin being instructed in a dream to found his 
castle on the spot where he should first hear the blackbird 
sing on making his way down the strath. According to 
the family history written in 1598 he also added the corner 
turrets to Kilchurn Castle. Kilchurn and much of the 
other Breadalbane territory had once been possessed by 
Clan Gregor, but when feudal tenures came in, the chiefs 
of that clan had scorned to hold their land by what they 
termed " sheep-skin rights," and elected to continue hold- 
ing them by the ancient " coir a glaive," or right of the 
sword. As a result, when disputes arose they had no 
documents to show; the effort to vindicate their claims 


by the power of the sword got them into trouble; and 
the Campbells and other neighbours easily procured 
against them powers of reprisal which in the end led to the 
conquest and transference of most of the MacGregor 
territory. Sir Walter Scott put the plight and feelings of 
the clansmen concisely in his famous lament: 

Glenorchy's proud mountain, Kilchurn and her towers, 
Glenstrae and Glenlyon no longer are ours; 

We're landless, landless, landless, Gregalach ! 

Accordingly we find in the Breadalbane family history 
that Sir Colin " was ane greate Justiciar all his tyme, 
throch the quhilk he sustenit that deidly feid of the Clan 
Gregor ane lang space. And besydis that, he causit 
execute to the death mony notable lymmars, and beheided 
the Laird of Mac Gregor himself at Keanmoir, in presence 
of the Erie of Atholl, the Justice Clerk, and sundrie uther 

Sir Duncan Campbell, the eldest son and successor of 
this redoubtable chief, is remembered in popular tradition 
by the names of " Black Duncan," or " Duncan with the 
cowl." Like his father he added greatly to his family 
possessions by acquiring feus of the church lands which' 
were then extensively in the market as a result of the 
Reformation. At the same time he was perhaps the most 
enlightened landowner of his age. At any rate he was 
the first of Highland lairds to turn attention to rural 
improvement. Among other matters he was a great 
planter of trees, and also compelled his tenants to plant 
them. Many of 'the noble trees which still surround his 
stronghold of Finlarig, at the eastern end of Loch Tay, 
were no doubt of his planting. Like his father also he 
was a notable builder of strongholds, and besides Tay- 
mouth, Edinample, and Strathfillan, he possessed Finlarig, 
Loch Dochart, Achalader, and Barcaldine. From this 
partiality he obtained the further sobriquet of " Duncan 
of the Castles." When he began to build Finlarig some- 
one is said to have asked why he was placing it at the 
edge of his property, and he is said to have replied, in 
characteristic Campbell fashion, that he meant to " birse 
yont." He was knighted by James I. in 1590; was made 
heritable keeper of the forest of Mamlorn in 1617, and 
afterwards Sheriff of Perth for life. Finally, when the 
order of Baronets of Nova Scotia began to be created in 
1625, he was one of the first to have the dignity conferred 
upon him. His first wife was Jean, daughter of John 
Stewart, Earl of Atholl, Chancellor of Scotland, and a few 


years ago the effigies of the pair were discovered on the 
under side of two stones which for centuries had been 
used as a footbridge across a ditch at Finlarig. At Fin- 
larig are also still to be seen the gallows tree and the fatal 
pit in the courtyard, to which prisoners came from the 
Castle dungeon by an underground passage, to be gazed 
at by the laird's retainers before placing their head in the 
hollow at the side still to be seen, to be lopped off by the 
executioner. The heading axe of these terrible occasions 
was till 1922 preserved among other interesting relics at 
Taymouth Castle. Since 1508 the chapel at Finlarig has 
been the burying-place of the chiefs of the house. 

Black Duncan's eldest son and successor, Sir Colin, 
was a patron of the fine arts, and encouraged the painter 
Jameson, the " Scottish Vandyck." His brother Robert, 
who succeeded him as third Baronet, and was previously 
known as "of Glenfalloch," represented Argyllshire in 
the Scottish parliaments of 1643, 1646, and 1647, the 
period of the civil wars of Charles I. and the exploits of 
the Marquess of Montrose. 

This chief, the third baronet of Glenurchy, had by his 
two wives a family of no fewer than fifteen, of whom 
more anon. Meanwhile his eldest son's son, Sir John 
Campbell, fifth baronet of Glenorchy, was to make history 
in more ways than one, both for his family and for the 
country. From his swarthy complexion he was known 
as Ian Glas. He was a clever and unscrupulous politician, 
and it was said of him that he was " cunning as a fox, 
wise as a serpent, and slippery as an eel." By his first 
wife, the Lady Mary Rich, daughter of the first Earl of 
Holland, beheaded in 1649, he received a dowry of 
;io,ooo, and it is said that after the marriage in 1657 he 
conveyed her from London to the Highlands in simple 
fashion, the lady riding on a pillion behind her lord, while 
her marriage portion, which he made sure was paid in 
coin, was carried on the back of a strong gelding, guarded 
on each side by a sturdy, well-armed Highlander. It was 
probably this money which helped him to one of the most 
notable actions of his career. At any rate it appears that 
among other investments he lent large sums of money to 
George, sixth Earl of Caithness. The Sinclairs have 
stories to tell, which may or may not be true, as to 
questionable methods by which these burdens of the Earl 
of Caithness were increased. One is that Charles II. 
obtained the earl's security for large sums, and then 
pledged it with Glenurchy. In any case in 1572 the Earl 
of Caithness found his debts overwhelming, and, being 


Facing page 40. 


pressed by Glenurchy as his chief creditor, conveyed to 
him in wadset the whole property and titles of the 
Earldom, the possession of which was to become absolute 
if not redeemed within six years. The redemption did not 
take place, and on the death of the Earl, Glenurchy pro- 
cured from the king in 1677, in right of his wadset, a new 
charter to the lands and title of Earl of Caithness. The 
heir to the Earldom also claimed the title and estates, and 
Glenurchy proceeded under legal sanction to enforce his 
rights by strength of arms. For this purpose he sent his 
kinsman, Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, with a 
strong body of men, into the north. The Sinclairs also 
gathered in armed force, and the two parties came face to 
face, with a stream between them. Glenlyon is said by 
the Sinclairs to have used the strategy of sending a convoy 
of strong waters where he knew it would be captured by 
the Sinclairs, and at night, when the latter had enjoyed 
themselves not wisely but too well, the Campbells marched 
across the stream and utterly routed them. It was on this 
occasion that the Campbell piper composed the famous 
pibroch of the clan " Bodach na Briogais," the Lad of 
the Breeches, in ridicule of the Sinclairs, who wore that 
garment ; and it is the event which is commemorated in the 
famous song " The Campbells are Coming." In the end, 
however, by the legitimate heir, George Sinclair of 
Keiss, the Campbells were driven out of the country, and 
Charles II., being at length persuaded of the injustice of 
his action, induced Glenurchy to drop the Caithness title, 
and compensated him in 1681 by creating him Earl of 
Breadalbane and Holland, with a number of minor 
dignities. Cunning as ever, Glenurchy procured the right 
to leave his titles to whichever of his sons by his first wife 
he should think proper to designate, and in the end, as 
a matter of fact, he passed over the elder of the two, 
Duncan, Lord Ormelie, who eventually died unmarried 
ten years after his father. 

Glenurchy's first wife died in 1666, and twelve years 
later Glenurchy, probably by way of strengthening his 
claim to the Caithness title, married Mary, Countess 
Dowager of Caithness. This lady was the third daughter 
of the notorious Archibald, Marquess of Argyll, who, 
strangely enough, like the father of Glenurchy's first wife, 
had been beheaded after the Restoration. 

Possibly Breadalbane was inspired by his father-in- 
law's example to adopt sinister methods. At any rate we 
know that he was the chief mover in the transaction known 
in history as the Massacre of Glencoe. In this transaction 


he showed his usual cunning. Glencoe appeared a 
desirable addition to the estate. So also did Glenlyon. 
He had left Campbell of Glenlyon to bear the expense 
of the great Caithness expedition, and he now took 
advantage of Glenlyon 's impecuniosity to induce him 
to act as his catspaw in the affair of Glencoe. In that affair 
Glenlyon had also a personal revenge to satisfy, for the 
MacDonalds of Glencoe, on their way home after the 
battle of Killiecrankie, had raided and thoroughly 
destroyed his lands. At any rate it was Captain Robert 
Campbell of Glenlyon, with a company of Campbells, who 
carried out the notorious massacre. What his feelings 
towards his chief may have been at a later day we do not 
know, when, upon riding into Edinburgh to redeem a 
wadset on his lands of Glenlyon cnly in the nick of time, 
he encountered his kinsman and chief in the act of closing 
the wadset and ousting him from his heritage. Such a 
personage was Ian Glas, first Earl of Breadalbane and 
Holland. The wily old chief lived till 1717. Two years 
before his death he sent 500 of his followers to join the 
Jacobite rising of the Earl of Mar, but escaped without 
serious consequences of the act. 

Curiously enough as a result of the massacre Highland 
superstition has associated a curse with the house both of 
the prime mover Breadalbane and with that of his agent, 
Glenlyon. Sir Walter Scott tells the story of how at a 
later day a Campbell of Glenlyon was the officer in com- 
mand of a firing party entrusted with the carrying out 
of the death sentence of a court martial. The intention 
was to reprieve the culprit, but the reprieve was not to be 
made known to the latter till the very moment of execution. 
Glenlyon had arranged that the signal to fire should be 
his drawing his white handkerchief from his pocket. 
When all was ready, and the firing party was in position, 
he put his hand into his pocket to produce the reprieve. 
Unfortunately his handkerchief came with it. This was 
taken by the soldiers as the appointed signal, the muskets 
rang out, and the prisoner fell. At that Glenlyon is said 
to have struck his forehead with his hand, exclaiming, 
" I am an unfortunate ruined man; the curse of God and 
Glenlyon is here! " and forthwith to have retired from 
the service. 

The second Earl of Breadalbane was Lord Lieutenant 
of Perthshire and a representative peer. In his time 
occurred the Jacobite rising of 1745, when it was reckoned 
that the Earl could put a thousand men into the field. 
The third Earl was a Lord of the Admiralty and an 












ambassador to the Danish and Russian courts. By his 
third wife the Earl had a son John, Lord Glenorchy, who 
died before him childless in 1771. His widow Willielma, 
daughter and co-heir of William Maxwell of Preston, was 
the famous Lady Glenorchy whose peculiar religious views 
induced her to found chapels for her followers in Edin- 
burgh, Carlisle, Matlock x and Strathfillan. 

On the death of the third Earl himself in 1782, the 
male line of the notorious Ian Glas became extinct. The 
patent, however, included heirs male general, and the 
peerage accordingly went to a grandson of Colin of 
Mochaster, third son of Sir Robert Campbell, third 
baronet of Glenorchy. This grandson, John Campbell, 
succeeded as fourth Earl of Breadalbane. He was Major- 
General and a representative peer, and was made Marquess 
of Breadalbane and Earl of Ormelie in 1806. His only 
son, John, was, according to Peter Drummond of Perth 
(Perthshire in Bygone Days), the hero of a curious 
romance. While a student at Glasgow University he fell 
in love with Miss Logan, daughter of Walter Logan of 
Fingalton, near Airdrie, and partner in the firm of Logan 
and Adamson, who lived in West George Street, the 
ground floor of the house now occupied by Messrs. 
Paterson's music warehouse. The young lady was a great 
toast and strikingly handsome. Every time she entered 
the Theatre Royal in Queen Street it is said the audience 
rose to a man and cheered wildly. Alas, however, the 
match was considered unsuitable and was broken off, and 
the lady died unmarried in 1856. 

Lord John meanwhile had succeeded as second 
Marquess and fifth Earl on the death of his father in 1834, 
and became a Knight of the Thistle, a Knight of the 
Black Eagle of Prussia, Lord Lieutenant of Argyllshire, 
and president of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of 
Scotland. In his time Queen Victoria paid her famous 
first visit to Scotland, and on that occasion was entertained 
at Taymouth with the most splendid hospitality. With 
huntings and Highland games by day and feastings and 
balls at night, the royal entertainment was " more like 
the dreams of romance than reality." 

The Marquess died without issue at Lausanne in 1862, 
when there ensued one of the most famous peerage cases 
on record. The Earldom was claimed by John Alexander 
Gavin Campbell of Glenfalloch, as great-great-grandson of 
William, fifth son of Sir Robert Campbell, third baronet 
of Glenorchy. There was, however, a question as to his 
legitimacy. His grandfather, it appeared, a younger son 


of the Glenfalloch of his time, had, while an officer in the 
army, run away with the wife of an apothecary at Bath, 
and though the apothecary presently died, it was 
questioned whether a union so begun could afterwards be 
accepted as legitimated by a Scottish marriage and so 
legitimize the offspring of the union. Glenfalloch's claim 
to the Earldom was accordingly disputed by the repre- 
sentative of his grandfather's younger brother, Campbell 
of Borland. In the end, however, it was shown that the 
gay young officer and the lady of Bath had been received 
at Glenfalloch by the young officer's father and mother, 
who were strict in their religious views, and unlikely to 
have countenanced the lady unless they regarded her as 
really their son's wife. The House of Lords accordingly 
decided in favour of Glenfalloch's claim, and he became 
sixth Earl of Breadalbane. His eldest son, the late head 
of the house, who succeeded in 1871, held several high 
positions in the royal household. He was a Lord-in- 
Waiting from 1873 to 1874, Treasurer of the household 
1880-5, Lord Steward of the household 1892-5, also A.D.C. 
to the King and Lord High Commissioner to the General 
Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1893-4-5. He was 
created Baron Breadalbane in the peerage of the United 
Kingdom in 1873, and advanced to the Earldom of Ormelie 
and Marquessate of Breadalbane in 1885. He was also 
a Knight of the Garter and a Privy Councillor, and was 
Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland from 1907. He 
married in 1872 Lady Alma Graham, youngest daughter 
of the fourth Duke of Montrose. In 1921, when, in the 
stringency after the great war, many of the great land- 
owners of Scotland parted with their estates, he disposed 
of Taymouth Castle, the town of Aberfeldy, and the 
lands at the lower end of Loch Tay. On the Marquess's 
death in 1922 he was succeeded in the Earldom and older 
titles by his nephew, Iain E. H. Campbell, but that 
nephew himself died in May, 1923. At his death it was 
discovered that he had been married for seven years. 
Should he have no son the titles and estates will devolve 
upon the former competitor's son, Captain Charles W. 
Campbell of Borland. 


j/ 1 


Facmgpage 44 


BADGE : Raineach (filix) Fern. 
PIBROCH : Failte Siosalaich vStrathglas. 

ONE of the most remarkable episodes among the adventures 
of Prince Charles Edward in the West Highlands, 
between the time of his escape from Benbecula by the aid 
of Flora MacDonald and his final setting sail for France 
on board the Doutelle, was that of his shelter and 
protection by the Seven Men of Glen Morriston. The 
names of these seven men, as given in the Lyon in 
Mourning, were Patrick Grant, commonly called Black 
Peter of Craskie, John MacDonnell alias Campbell, 
Alexander MacDonnell, Grigor MacGregor, and three 
brothers Alexander, Donald, and Hugh Chisholm. These 
seven were afterwards joined by an eighth, Hugh 
Macmillan. These men had been engaged in the Jacobite 
rising, and, as a result, their small possessions had been 
burned and destroyed. Seventy others of tjaeir neighbours 
who had surrendered they had seen sent as slaves to the 
colonies, and in desperation they had bound themselves 
by a solemn oath never to yield and never to give up their 
arms, but to fight to the last drop of their blood. Several 
of their deeds are recounted in the work already referred 
to. About three weeks before the Prince joined them, 
four of them, the two Macdonnells and Alexander and 
Donald Chisholm, attacked a convoy of seven soldiers 
carrying provisions from Fort Augustus to Glenelg, shot 
two of the soldiers dead, turned loose the horses, and 
carried the provisions to their cave. A few days 
later, meeting Robert Grant, a notorious informer from 
Strathspey, they shot him dead, cut off his head, and set 
it up in a tree near the high road, where it remained for 
many a day, a terror to traitors. Three days later, word 
reached them that an uncle of Patrick Grant had had his 
cattle driven off by a large party of soldiers. Near the 
Hill of Lundy, between Fort Augustus and Glenelg, they 
came up with the raiders and demanded the return of the 
cattle. The three king's officers formed up their party for 
defence and continued to drive away the cattle; but the 



seven men, moving parallel with the party, kept up a 
running fire two by two, and finally, in a narrow and 
dangerous pass, so beset the soldiers that they fell into 
confusion and fled, leaving the cattle, as well as a horse 
laden with provisions, to the assailants. 

To these men the Prince was introduced as young 
Clanranald, but they instantly recognised him, and 
welcomed him with the utmost enthusiasm and devotion. 
They took a dreadful oath to be faithful to him, and kept 
it so well, that not one of them spoke of the Prince having 
been in their company till a twelvemonth after he had 
sailed to France. Charles told them they were the first 
privy council who had sworn faith to him since the battle 
of Culloden, and he lived with them first for three days in 
the cave of Coiraghoth, and afterwards for four days in 
another of their fastnesses two miles away, the cave of 

John Home, in his history of the Rebellion, quoting 
the narrative of Hugh Chisholm, says that " when Charles 
came near they knew him and fell upon their knees. 
Charles was then in great distress. He had a bonnet on 
his head, a wretched yellow wig, and a clouted hand- 
kerchief about his neck. He had a coat of coarse 
dark-coloured cloth, a Stirling tartan waistcoat much 
worn, a pretty good belted plaid, tartan hose, and Highland 
brogues tied with thongs, so much worn that they would 
scarcely stick upon his feet. His shirt (and he had not 
another) was of the colour of saffron." The outlaws 
undertook to procure him a change of dress. This they 
did by waylaying and killing the servant of an officer, 
conveying his master's baggage to Fort Augustus. 

On 6th August, learning that a certain captain of 
militia, named Campbell, factor to the Earl of Seaforth, 
was encamped within four miles of his hiding-place, 
Charles determined to remove, and, during the night, 
attended by his rude but faithful bodyguard, . he passed 
over into Strathglass, the country of The Chisholm. The 
Prince stayed in Strathglass for four days, then passed 
over into Glen Cannich, hoping to hear of a French vessel 
that had put into Poolewe. Disappointed in this, how- 
ever, he returned across the Water of Cannich, and, 
passing near young Chisholm's house, arrived about two 
in the morning of I4th August at a place called Fassana- 
coill in Strathglass, where the party was supplied with 
provisions by one, John Chisholm, a farmer. Chisholm 
was even able to furnish a bottle of wine, which had been 
left with him by a priest. It was not till the igth of 


August that the Prince passed from Glen Morriston to 
Glengarry. On finally parting from his faithful protectors 
at a wood at the foot of Loch Arkaig, the Prince gave their 
leader, Patrick Grant, twenty-four guineas, being nearly 
all the money he possessed. This made an allowance of 
three guineas for each man, which cannot be considered a 
preposterous acknowledgment, seeing that any one of them 
could, at any moment during the Prince's stay among 
them, have earned for himself the reward of .30,000 
offered by Government for his capture. 

Of one of these seven men, Hugh Chisholm, in later 
days, an interesting account is given by Sir Walter Scott. 
Towards the close of the century he lived in Edinburgh 
and became known to Scott, then a young man at college, 
who subscribed to a trifling annuity for him. Scott says 
" he was a noble commanding figure of six feet and 
upwards, had a very stately demeanour, and always wore 
the Highland garb. . . . He kept his right hand usually 
in his bosom, as if worthy of more care than the rest of 
his person, because Charles Edward had shaken hands 
with him when they separated." In the end he returned 
to his native district, and died in Strathglass some time 
after 1812. 

The humble clansmen who appear thus heroically in 
Scottish history in the eighteenth century, were members 
of a race whose origin is lost in the mists of antiquity. 
By some the family is believed to have taken its name 
originally from a property on the Scottish Border, and to 
have been transplanted thence at an early date to the 
district of Strathglass in Inverness-shire. Another theory 
is that the Chisholms, whose Gaelic name is Siosal, are 
derived from the English Cecils. If either of these 
theories be correct, the case is little different from that of 
many others of the most notable Scottish clans, whose 
progenitors appear to have settled in the north in the time 
of Malcolm Canmore and his sons, much in the same way 
as Norman and Saxon knights were settled in the 
Lowlands by these monarchs, and probably for the same 
reason, to develop the military resources and ensure the 
loyaltv of their respective districts. 

Whatever its origin, the race of the Chisholms appears 
early enough among the makers of history in the north. 
Guthred or Harald, Thane of Caithness in the latter part 
of the twelfth century, is stated by Sir Robert Gordon to 
have borne the surname of Chisholm. His wife was the 
daughter of Madach, Earl of Atholl, and he was one of 
the most powerful and turbulent of the northern chiefs, 


till William the Lion at last defeated and put him to death 
and divided his lands between Freskin, ancestor of the 
Earls of Sutherland, and Magnus, son of Gillibreid, Ear 
of Angus. Upon that event the chiefs of the Chisholms 
it is conjectured, sought a new district, and about the 
year 1220 settled in Strathglass. From that time to this 
they have been located in the region, and to an early 
chief the saying is attributed that there were but three 
persons in the world entitled to be called " The " th 
King, the Pope, and The Chisholm. 

In the Ragman Roll of 1296 appear the names o 
Richard de Chesehelm, in Roxburghshire, and John d 
Cheshome, in Berwickshire, but it cannot be suppose 
that these individuals had any but the most remot 
relationship with the Clan Chisholm of the north. I 
1334 the chief of the Chisholms married the daughter an 
heiress of Sir Robert Lauder of Quarrelwood, presumabl 
the estate of that name in the parish of Kirkmahoe in 
Dumfries-shire, who was at that time Constable of the 
royal castle of Urquhart at the foot of Glen Morriston on 
Loch Ness. Robert, the son of this marriage, succeeded 
through his mother to the estate of Quarrelwood, and 
became keeper of Urquhart Castle. He was one of the 
knights who was taken prisoner along with the young 
King David II. at Neville's Cross in 1346, but procured 
his freedom, and left a record of his piety at a later day by 
bestowing six acres of arable land within the territory of 
the old Castle of Inverness upon the kirk there. The 
deed, dated in 1362, is still preserved, and the ground, 
still the property of the Kirk Session, has its revenue 
devoted to the relief of the poor, and is known on that 
account as the Diribught, " Tir na bochd," or poor's land. 
By way of contrast to this piety, Sir Robert Chisholm, 
Lord of Quarrelwood, was accused in 1369 of having 
wrongously intromitted with some of the property belong- 
ing to the bishopric of Moray, and twenty-nine years later 
John de Chesehelm was ordered to restore the lands of 
Kinmylies, which belonged to the church. In the Register 
of Moray, under the date of 1368, is preserved the record 
of an act of homage performed to the Bishop for certain 
lands by Alexander de Chisholme, presumably a son of 
Sir Robert. " In camera domini Alexandri, Dei gratia 
Episcopi Moraviensis apud Struy, presente tota multitudine 
Canonicorum et Capellanorum et aliorum, ad prandium 
ibi invitatorum, Alexander de Chisholme fecit homagium, 
junctis manibus et discooperta capite, pro eisdem terris, " 


The main residence of the chiefs of that time appears 
to have been Comar, and in an indenture dated 1403 
Margaret de la Aird is stated to be the widow of the late 
chief, Alexander Chisholm of Comar. This indenture was 
for the settlement of the estates between the widow, 
Alexander's successor Thomas, and William, Lord Fenton, 
as heirs portioners, and it detailed the family property as 
lying not only in the shires of Inverness and Moray, but 
also in the counties of Aberdeen, Forfar, and Perth. 

At the end of the fourteenth century the chief of the 
time, John Chisholm, had an only child, Morella, or 
Muriel. By her marriage to Alexander Sutherland, baron 
of Duffus, a large part of the property of the chiefs was 
carried out of the family, and John's successor was left 
with little more than the original patrimony of his 
ancestors in Strathglass. Muriel also carried into her 
husband's family the Chisholm insignia of the Boar's 
head as an addition to its coat of arms. 

Somewhere during those centuries occurred a tragic 
incident which has retained a place among the traditions of 
the clan. One of the Chisholm chiefs, it appears, carried 
off a daughter of the chief of the Frasers. To ensure her 
safety he placed her on an island on Loch Bruaich. But 
her father's clan having mustered in force, traced her to 
this retreat. A fierce struggle followed, and in the course 
of it the young lady was accidentally slain by her own 
brother's hand. The incident is the subject of a well- 
known Gaelic song, and around the spot are still to be seen 
the burial mounds of those who fell in the battle. 

For some two centuries Comar appears to have 
remained the residence of the chiefs. In 1513 amid the 
troubles which followed the defeat and death of James IV, 
at Flodden it is recorded that Uilan of Comar, along with 
Alastair MacRanald of Glengarry, stormed the royal 
castle of Urquhart. And again in 1587, when the chiefs 
3f the Highland clans were called upon to give security 
For the peaceful behaviour of those upon their lands, the 
lame of " Cheisholme of Cummer " appears on the roll. 
Within the next century, however, Erchless Castle had 
oecome their main stronghold, and at the Revolution it 
vas garrisoned for King James. After the battle of 
villiecrankie it was deemed important enough to call for 
special effort at reduction, and General Livingstone found 
10 little difficulty, though he besieged it with a large 
orce, in capturing the place and preventing the clansmen 
rom regaining possession. 

Among the Highland chiefs who signed the loyal 

VOL. I. 


address to King George I., which was presented to that 
monarch by the Earl of Mar on his landing at Greenwich 
in 1714, appears Ruari or Roderick Maclan, the Chisholm 
chief of the time. George I., as all the world knows, 
treated the address and its bearer with scant courtesy, and 
by that proceeding directly brought about the rising of the 
Jacobite clans under the Earl of Mar in 1715. In that 
rebellion the clan was led by Chisholm of Cnocfin, and in 
consequence, after the defeat at Sheriffmuir, his estates 
were forfeited and sold. In 1727, however, the veteran 
procured a pardon under the Privy Seal. The lands had 
meanwhile been acquired by MacKenzie of Allangrange. 
On the pardon being granted he conveyed them to 
Chisholm of Mucherach, who, in turn, conveyed them to 
Roderick's eldest son, with an entail on his heirs male. 

In 1745 the clan again turned out in support of the 
Jacobite cause, and was led on the occasion by Colin, the 
youngest son of the chief. The protection afforded Prince 
Charles Edward by the seven men of Glen Morriston 
during the critical days of his wandering in the Chisholm 
country and its neighbourhood, was only part of the 
devoted effort put forth by the clan on that memorable 

Alexander Chisholm, who succeeded to the chief ship in 
1785, and died in 1793, left an only child, Mary, who 
married an Englishman, James Gooden, and settled in 
London. The chief ship and estates then passed to his 
youngest brother, William. This chief married the eldest 
daughter of MacDonnell of Glengarry, and his elder son 
and successor, Alexander, sat as M.P. for Inverness-shire. 
On the death of the latter in 1838 the estates and chief ship 
passed to his brother Duncan. The clan is fortunate in 
still possessing a chief of its name well known for his 
public spirit in Highland affairs, while Erchless Castle, the 
ancient family seat, remains one of the most beautiful and 
picturesque of Highland residences. Near the Castle, on 
a green mound surrounded by ancient trees, a number of 
the early chiefs were buried, and here also, by his own 
desire, lies Alexander William, the chief who died in 1838; 
but the burying-place of most of the family was at Beauly 
Priory, where a tablet set up by his only daughter, Mrs. 
Gooden, commemorates Alexander, the chief who died 
in 1793. 

From an early date a branch of the clan was settled at 
Cromlix, or Cromlics, in Perthshire, which includes the 
episcopal city of Dunblane. At the Reformation, this 
branch produced in succession three bishops, all of the 


name of William, each of whom strenuously opposed the 
tenets of the Reformation. The first of these, who died 
in 1564, was notorious for his moral shortcomings, and 
seized the pretext of the Reformation, when church lands 
were being cast into the melting got, to alienate the 
episcopal estates of Dunblane to his illegitimate children. 
The second of these bishops, who was appointed co-adjutor 
to his uncle in 1561, and succeeded him as Bishop in 1564, 
acted as envoy for Mary Queen of Scots from 1565 to 
1567. Before 1570, like several other Catholic Scottish 
bishops, he withdrew to France, where he was appointed 
Bishop of Vaison. In 1584 he became a monk of the 
Chartreuse, and latterly was prior of the Chartreuse at 
Lyons and Rome. This bishop also was succeeded by a 
nephew, who became bishop of Vaison in 1584. He was 
notorious for his intrigues in Scottish affairs in 1602, 
when, in the interest of the Scottish Catholics, he 
endeavoured to obtain the cardinalate. He was rector of 
Venaissin from 1603 till his death in 1629. Finally, by 
the marriage of Jane, only daughter of Sir James Chisholm 
of Cromlix, to James, second son of David, second Lord 
Drummond, who afterwards became Lord Maderty, the 
lands were carried into the family of that nobleman, and 
gave his descendant, Viscount Strathallan, his second title, 
which is still carried by his descendant, the Earl of Perth, 
though the superiority of the lands afterwards passed to 
the Earl of Kinnoul. 

Two other Catholic prelates of the name were person- 
ages of importance in the Highlands. The elder of these, 
[ohn Chisholm, was educated at Douai, was made a 
orelate as titular Bishop of Oria in 1792, and became 
Vicar Apostolic of the Highland district in the same year. 
j-Ie was succeeded by his clansman, Aeneas Chisholm, who, 
|ifter an education at Valladolid, became tutor at Douai in 
1:786, and priest in Strathglass three years later. After 
peing raised to the prelacy as titular bishop of Diocaesarea 
n 1805, he became Vicar Apostolic of the Highland 
ilistrict in 1814. 


BADGE : Braoileag nan con (arbutus uva ursi) Bear berry. 
SLOGAN : Cnoc Ealachain (or Cnoc an t-seilich) . 
PIBROCH : Caismeacha Chloinn a' Chompaich. 

IF the battle of Glenfruin remains the most outstanding, 
triumphant, and disastrous landmark in the history of 
Clan Gregor, it remains also the most notable in that of 
their old enemies, the Colquhouns. Every day, all 
summer through, a great stream of tourists makes its way 
up the silver reaches of Loch Lomond, and strangely 
enough the two interests which most engross the attention 
of the pilgrims are the associations with Rob Roy on the 
eastern shore of the loch and the memories of the great: 
battle which the Colquhouns fought with the MacGregors 
in Glenfruin on the western side. This wide " Glen of 
Sorrow," as its name means, opens away among the hills 
some three miles above Balloch, at the southern end of the 
loch, and, while its " water " has become famous among 
anglers within recent years, the interest of the glen to 
most passers-by must remain for all time that of the great 
clan conflict in which the Colquhouns suffered so severely 
at the hands of their invading enemies. 

Sir Walter Scott, who, it is said, had been treated with 
somewhat scant courtesy on the occasion of a visit which 
he paid to the residence of the Colquhoun chief, has put 
the triumph of the clan's old enemies into a nutshell in 
his famous MacGregor boat-song in Rob Roy: 

Proudly our pibrochs have thrilled in Glenfruin, 
And Bannochar's groans to our slogan replied; 

Glen Luss and Rossdhu they are smoking in ruin, 
And the best of Loch Lomond lie dead on her side. 

Widow and Saxon maid 

Long shall lament our raid, 

Think of Clan Alpin with fear and with woe; 

Lennox and Leven glen 

Shake when they hear again 

Roderich vich Alpin dhu, Ho ieroe ! 

The ultimate result of the battle was very different from 
what might have been expected. While the MacGregors 
were hunted and harried through all their fastnesses, the 



Facing page 52. 


Colquhouns quietly settled again on their lovely loch shore, 
and their subsequent fortunes illustrated well the old 
saying, " Happy is the nation that has no history." From 
the foot of Glenfruin to the head of Loch Lomond, and 
over the hills along the whole side of the Gareloch and 
Loch Long to Arrochar, stretch the fair mountain posses- 
sions of the Chiefs of Colquhoun at the present hour. On 
Gareloch side the fair garden city of Helensburgh has 
risen on their estate ; and their possessions include not only 
their ancient lands of the time of the battle of Glenfruin, 
but also the territories of the Macaulays at Ardencaple, 
and of the wild MacFarlanes at Arrochar. There is no 
lovelier avenue in the Highlands than that from the south 
gateway below Glenfruin, which winds along the silvan 
shores of the loch for a mile and a half, to Rossdhu, and 
thence for another mile northwards on the road to Luss. 
Rossdhu itself stands, a stately seat, on its promontory, 
with deer park and noble woods about it; and the 
Colquhoun village of Luss, at the foot of its own beautiful 
glen, remains, in spite of the streams of tourists who pass 
it by in steamers and motor cars, one of the most 
sequestered and unspoiled spots in all the Highlands. 

Curiously enough the original seat of the family was 
not on Loch Lomond side at all. Dunglass Castle, just 
below Bowling on the opening Firth of Clyde, at the spot 
where the old Roman Wall is believed to have had its 
western end, was the early seat of the race, and the three- 
mile stretch down the western shore of the Firth thence to 
Dunbarton rock formed the old barony of Colquhoun 
from which the family took its name. Some five centuries 
ago, however, the laird of Colquhoun married the heiress 
of the older lairds of Luss, and thus by and by the head- 
quarters of the family were removed to Loch Lomond side. 

Here the heads of the house seem to have steadily 
increased in prosperity, and the followers of their name 
to have grown in numbers. For the most part they appear 
to have been a peaceful race, and it was not until towards 
the end of the sixteenth century that they began to be 
mixed up in the distressful business of the making of 
history. Sir Humphrey Colquhoun, the chief of that time, 
in 1582 purchased the heritable crownership or coroner- 
ship of Dunbartonshire, to be held blench of the Crown 
for the annual fee of one penny; and it was this 
Sir Humphrey who, ten years later, first came into con- 
flict with Clan Gregor. In face of an assault by the 
MacGregor clansmen from the other side of the loch, he 
was forced to take refuge in his strong castle of Bannochra, 


of which the ruin is still to be seen in Glenfruin, and here, 
it is said, he fell a victim to the treachery of his servant. 
This man, in lighting the chief up the stair at night, so 
managed his torch as to throw the light upon his master, 
and make him a mark for the arrow of an enemy outside, 
by whom Sir Humphrey was shot at and slain. 

The story goes that the death of the chief was brought 
about by his second brother, John. At any rate an entry 
in the diary of Robert Birrell, burgess of Edinburgh, dated 
3oth November, 1592, mentions that " John Cachoune was 
beheidit at the Crosse at Edinburghe for murthering of 
his auen brother the Lairde of Lusse." Further confirma- 
tion of the tradition that John was the guilty man is to be 
found in the fact that Sir Humphrey was succeeded, not 
by his second but by his third brother, Sir Alexander 

This chief, Sir Alexander, was the man who figures in 
the great contest with the MacGregors at Glenfruin. In 
his introduction to Rob Roy Sir Walter Scott lays the 
blame of beginning the feud upon the Colquhouns. His 
narrative runs, " Two of the MacGregors, being 
benighted, asked shelter in a house belonging to a 
dependent of the Colquhouns, and were refused. They 
then retired to an outhouse, took a wedder from the fold, 
killed it, and supped off the carcase, for which they offered 
payment to the owner. The Laird of Luss, however, 
unwilling to be propitiated by the offer made to his tenant, 
seized the offenders, and by the summmary process which 
feudal barons had at their command, caused them to be 
condemned and executed." Sir Walter adds that " the 
MacGregors verified this account of the feud by appealing 
to the proverb current among them, execrating the hour 
when the black wedder with the white tail was ever 
lambed." There is at the same time another and probably 
a truer account of the outbreak of the trouble. It would 
appear that the MacGregors were instigated to attack the 
Colquhouns by Archibald, Earl of Argyll, who had his 
own ends to serve by bringing trouble on both clans. As 
a result of the constant raids by the MacGregors, thus 
brought about, Sir Alexander Colquhoun in 1602 obtained 
a licence from James VI. to arm his clan. On the 7th of 
the following February the two clans, each some three 
hundred strong, came face to face in battle array in Glen- 
fruin. The battle was so much a set affair that Alastair 
MacGregor divided his force into two parties, he himself 
attacking the Colquhouns in front, while his brother John 
came upon them in the rear. The Colquhouns defended 


themselves bravely, killing among others this John Mac- 
Gregor ; but, assailed on two sides, they were at last forced 
to give way. They were pursued to the gates of Rossdhu 
itself, and 140 of them were slain, including several near 
kinsmen of the chief and a number of burgesses of Dun- 
barton who had taken arms in his cause. 

According to a well-known tradition, some forty 
students and other Dunbarton folk had come up to witness 
the battle. As a watch and guard MacGregor had set one 
of his clansmen, Dugald Ciar Mhor, over these spectators. 
On the Colquhouns being overthrown, MacGregor noticed 
Dugald join in the pursuit, and asked him what he had 
done with the young men, whereupon the clansman held 
up his bloody dirk, and answered, " Ask that! ' 

The MacGregors followed up the defeat of the 
Colquhouns by plundering and destroying the whole 
estate. They drove off 600 cattle, 800 sheep and goats, 
and 14 score horses, and burned every house and barn- 
yard and destroyed the " Haill plenishing, guids, and 
gear of the four-score pound land of Luss," while the 
unfortunate chief, Sir Alexander Colquhoun, looked on 
helpless from within the walls of the old castle of Rossdhu, 
the ruin of which still stands on its rising ground behind 
the modern mansion. 

Retribution , swift and terrible, however, was visited 
upon the MacGregors. Some sixty Colquhoun widows 
in deep mourning, carrying their husbands' bloody shirts 
on poles, appeared before James VI. at Stirling. It has 
been suggested that this parade was not all genuine, that 
these women were not all widows, and that the blood 
on the shirts had not been shed in Glenfruin. But the 
King was sufficiently moved, and forthwith letters of fire 
and sword were granted against the MacGregors. Their 
very name was proscribed and the sheltering of one of the 
clan was made a crime punishable with death. While his 
men were hunted with dogs along the hills, the chief, 
Alastair Gregor, was induced across the Border by the 
promise of his false friend, Argyll. The latter had given 
his word that he would see him safely into England, 
whither the King had by that time removed his court; but 
no sooner was MacGregor across the Border than Argyll 
had him arrested and carried back to Edinburgh, where on 
2oth January, with four of his henchmen, he was tried, 
condemned, and hanged at the Cross, while all his 
possessions were declared forfeited. 

A few years later a drama of another kind was carried 
out at Rossdhu. The son of the chief who fought at 


Glenfruin was made a baronet. Sir John Colquhoun 
married Lilias Graham, eldest sister of the great Marquess 
of Montrose, and he returned the King's favour by proving 
a devoted loyalist in the Civil War, for which action he 
was fined ,2,000 by Oliver Cromwell. Besides this, Sir 
John had another trouble in hand. He appears to have 
run away with a younger sister of the Marquess of Mon- 
trose, Lady Catherine Graham, who had taken refuge at 
Rossdhu. He was accused of having used the Black Art 
for the purpose of enticing her, and of having employed, 
among other witches and sorcerers, one Thomas Carlippis, 
whom he kept as his ordinary servant. Along with 
certain love philters, he is said to have used a certain 
jewel of gold set with divers diamonds, rubies, and other 
precious stones, and from this fact one may doubt whether 
there was much necromancy after all in the attractions 
with which he overcome the scruples of the fair young 
lady. As a consequence, however, the gay baronet was 
outlawed and excommunicated, and, what with the expense 
of his love-jewels, his fines as a Royalist, and other extrava- 
gances, he was presently forced to dispose of his life-rent 
of the estates, and it was only with difficulty that posses- 
sion was recovered by the bargaining of his shrewd 
brother, Humphrey Colquhoun. 

The male line of the Colquhouns came to an end with 
Sir John's grandson, Sir Humphrey. This laird was a 
member of the last Scottish Parliament and an ardent 
opponent of the Union with England. He had an only 
daughter, Anne, who was married to James Grant of 
Pluscardine, second son of the Chief of the Grants. He 
was most anxious that his daughter should inherit his 
honours and estates, instead of his nephew, John 
Colquhoun of Tillie-Colquhoun, now Tilliechewan, near 
Balloch. To secure this he resigned his baronetcy and 
estates into the hands of the King, and in 1704 received a 
new charter securing the life-rent of these possessions to 
himself and entailing them afterwards upon his daughter 
and son-in-law. Then, in order that the name and estate 
of Colquhoun should at no time become merged with those 
of the Grants, he provided that if at any time the Laird of 
Colquhoun should succeed to the lairdship of Grant, 
the Colquhoun estate should at once pass to the next 
Colquhoun heir. 

Curiously enough, Sir Humphrey was not long dead 
when his daughter's husband succeeded his elder brother 
as Laird of Grant. Thereupon the Colquhoun estates 
passed to Anne's second son, Ludovic Grant, who forth- 











with took the name and designation of Sir Ludovic 
Colquhoun. By and by, however, Sir Ludovic's elder 
brother died, and he himself became Laird of Grant, and 
had to resign the Luss estates to his younger brother, the 
third son of Anne Colquhoun. Then came a curious 
incident. A poacher was charged at Dunbarton Sheriff 
Court with trespass on the lands of Sir James Colquhoun, 
Bart., of Colquhoun and Luss. The lawyer who defended 
him pleaded that the indictment was irrelevant, as the 
accuser was not Sir James Colquhoun, Bart., and he won 
his case. The fact was that in arranging for the succes- 
sion to the estates, Sir Humphrey Colquhoun had failed to 
provide for the simultaneous succession to the baronetcy, 
which now really belonged to the descendant of his 
nephew, John of Tillie-Colquhoun. The Laird of Luss, 
however, was made a baronet of Great Britain in 1786, and 
by the failure of the line of Tillie-Colquhoun, the original 
baronetcy afterwards returned to his descendant. 

In more recent days the Lairds of Luss have played a 
not less distinguished part in Scottish affairs. They have 
been members of Parliament and Lords Lieutenant; one 
was a Principal Clerk of the Court of Session, and another 
a Sheriff Depute of Dunbartonshire, while one member of 
the family, John Colquhoun, was author of the well-known 
open-air book, The Moor and the Loch, and his daughter, 
Mrs. L. B. Walford, is one of the best-known novelists of 
our time. In 1847, when Queen Victoria visited Dun- 
barton Castle, she was received by Sir James Colquhoun 
as Lord Lieutenant. The carriage in which he drove her 
Majesty from and to the landing-place is still kept in the 
coach-house at Rossdhu, and a picture representing Sir 
James in the act of receiving her Majesty still hangs in the 

Alas ! this same Sir James, twenty-six years later, came 
to his end in a way which is recalled yet as one of the 
most tragic of Loch Lomond's memories. On the i8th of 
December, 1873, with five of his keepers he had gone to 
the Colquhoun deer island of Inch Lonaig to secure 
Christmas fare for his tenants and friends. On his return 
in the heavily-loaded boat he had reached Inch Tavanach, 
the " Monk's Island,'-' off Luss, when, in a sudden storm 
the boat was swamped and all on board perished. 

Sir Iain Colquhoun, the present possessor of the estates 
and holder of the title, is the third successor since then. 
Before the war he held a commission in the Scots Guards, 
and was a noted athlete, winning the light-weight boxing 
championship of the British army. On the outbreak of 


war in 1914 he went to the front in France, where he 
greatly distinguished himself, won the D.S.O. with bar, 
was mentioned in dispatches and held the rank of Major. 
He is now Lord-Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire. 







Facing page 58. 


BADGE : Lus mhic Chuimein (cuminum) Cumin plant. 

THERE was no greater name in Scotland towards the end 
of the thirteenth century than that of Comyn. With their 
headquarters in Badenoch the chiefs and gentlemen of the 
clan owned broad lands in nearly every part of Scotland, 
and the history of the time is full of their deeds and the 
evidences of their influence. 

Writers who seek to derive this clan from a Celtic 
source cite the existence of two abbots of lona of the name 
who held office in the years 597 and 657 respectively. The 
later of these was known as Comyn the Fair, and from one 
or other of them the name of Fort Augustus, " Kil 
Chuimein," was probably derived. Another origin of the 
family is recounted by Wyntoun in his Cronykil of 
Scotland. According to this writer there was at the court 
of Malcolm III. a young foreigner. His occupation was 
that of Door-ward or usher of the royal apartment, but, to 
begin with, he knew only two words of the Scottish 
language, " Cum in," and accordingly became known by 
that name. He married the only daughter of the king's 
half-brother Donald, and his descendants therefore 
represented the legitimate line of the old Celtic kings of 
Scotland, as against the illegitimate line descending from 
Malcolm III. The Comyns themselves claim descent 
from Robert de Comyn, Earl of Northumberland, who 
fell along with Malcolm III. at the battle of Alnwick in 
1093. That Robert de Comyn, again, claimed descent, 
through the Norman Counts de Comyn, from no less a 
personage than Charlemagne. The probability appears 
to be that a scion of the house of Northumberland came 
north in the days of Malcolm III., and obtained lands in 
the county of Roxburgh, where one of the name is found 
settled in the reign of Malcolm's son, David I. 

No record is left of the family's rise to influence and 
power, but in the course of the next two hundred years 
the Comyns managed to make themselves by far the most 
powerful house in Scotland. Richard de Comyn stood 
high in the service of William the Lion, and his -son 
William, marrying Marjory, Countess of Buchan, became 
lord of that great northern earldom. In the days of King 
Alexander II., Comyn, the great lord of Kilbride, and his 



wife, were the chief builders of Glasgow cathedral. By 
this fact appears to hang a pretty and pathetic tale. When 
the great work was half done Comyn died. His wife, 
however, in loving faithfulness completed the building, 
which may be taken, almost as it stands to-day, as a monu- 
ment of her wifely love and faith. It is an interesting fact 
that there exist in the lower church which they built two 
fine likenesses of the Comyn Lord of Kilbride and his lady, 
carved in stone. Along with them is a life-like carved head 
of Alexander II. himself, and the three are believed to be 
the earliest existing portraits of historic personages in 
Scotland. The building of Glasgow cathedral above 
referred to took place about the year 1258, and some idea 
of the enduring quality of the work may be gathered from 
the fact that the oaken timbers of the roof, taken down 
some few years ago, remained as sound as on the day when 
the Lord of Kilbride and his lady saw them placed in 
position on the shrine. 

A few years later, in the reign of Alexander III., there 
were in Scotland, according to the historian Fordun, 
three powerful earls, Buchan, Menteith, and Atholl, and 
no fewer than thirty-two knights of the name of Comyn. 
There was also Comyn, Lord of Strathbogie. As Lords 
of Badenoch they owned the formidable stronghold of 
Lochindorb in that district, and a score of castles through- 
out the country besides. Stories of their deeds and 
achievements wellnigh fill the annals of the north of that 
time. In the boyhood of Alexander III., when Henry III. 
of England was doing his best by fraud and force to 
bring Scotland under his power, it was Walter Comyn, 
Earl of Menteith, who stood out as the most patriotic of 
all the Scottish nobles to resist the attempts of the English 
king When Henry, at the marriage of his daughter to 
the boy-king of Scots, suggested that the latter should 
render fealty for the kingdom of Scotland, it was probably 
Walter Comyn who put the answer into Alexander's mouth 
" That he had come into England upon a joyful and 
pacific errand, and would not treat upon so arduous a 
question without the advice of the Estates of his realm." 
And when Henry marched towards the Scottish Border at 
the head of an army, it was Walter Comyn who collected 
a Scottish host, and made the English king suddenly 
modify his designs. Alas 1 at the very moment when he 
seemed to have achieved his purpose, when the English 
faction had been driven out, and Alexander and the 
Comyns, with the queen-mother, the famous Marie de 
Couci, had established a powerful government in Scot- 


land, the Earl of Menteith suddenly died. The incident 
was tragic. In England it was said his death had been 
caused by a fall from his horse, but the truth appears to 
be that an English baron named Russell had won the 
affections of Corny n's wife, and that she poisoned her 
husband to make way for her paramour. It is agreeable 
to know that Russell and the faithless countess were shortly 
afterwards hounded from the kingdom. From that time 
the Earldom of Menteith appears to have passed into other 
hands, successively Bullocks, Stewarts, and Grahams. 

On the death of the Maid of Norway, the infant queen 
of Scotland, in the year 1290, John Comyn, Lord of 
Badenoch, known popularly as the Black Comyn, was one 
of the twelve claimants to the Scottish throne, and the 
tradition of the marriage of the young Comyn of Malcolm 
III.'s time with the daughter of Donald, King Duncan's 
legitimate son, is proved to be authentic by the fact that 
the Lord of Badenoch 's claim to the throne was based 
upon that descent. He was among the knights who 
supported King John Baliol against Edward I.-'s invasion 
in 1297, but was one of those forced to surrender in the 
castle of Dunbar after the defeat of the Scots at that place. 

On the patriot Wallace giving up the governorship of 
Scotland after his defeat at the battle of Falkirk, John 
Comyn, the younger of Badenoch, otherwise the Red 
Comyn, was chosen as one of the two governors of Scot- 
land, and in 1302, he, along with Sir Simon Eraser, 
defeated three English armies in one day at the famous 
battle of Roslin. By way of reprisal Edward, a few 
months later, marched another army into the north, and 
took Corny n's great stronghold of Lochindorb. Comyn, 
nevertheless, afterwards bravely carried on a guerilla 
warfare against several invasions by the English king. 
Finally, however, defeated at the passage of the Forth, 
where Wallace had won his great victory of Stirling 
Bridge, Comyn was forced to surrender. 

In these wars against Edward of England the Red 
Comyn had a very personal interest. His mother was 
Marjory, sister of King John Baliol, and accordingly he 
had an immediate claim to the throne of Scotland should 
anything happen to King John's sons, the young Edward 
and Henry Baliol, at that time minors and captives. This 
claim was superior to that of Robert the Bruce, and 
inevitably brought these two great families, the Comyns 
and the Bruces, into bitter conflict. Comyn had further 
reason to look with hope on his chance of succeeding to 
the crown. He had married Johanna, daughter of 


William de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, whose mother 
was Isabella, widow of John, King of England, grand- 
father of Edward I. 

There were also other immediate causes of feud between 
the Corny ns and the Bruces. After the crown had been 
awarded to Baliol the Bruces kept apart from public 
affairs, maintained allegiance to Edward I., and, living 
mostly in England, kept possession of their great estates. 
Baliol and the Comyns, on the other hand, righting hard 
for the independence of Scotland, suffered both in liberty 
and land. Resenting Bruce's inaction, Baliol confiscated 
his estate of Annandale, and gave it to John Comyn, Earl 
of Buchan, who forthwith seized and occupied Bruce's 
great stronghold of Lochmaben. This insult the Bruces 
never forgave. At the same time it probably rankled in 
the Red Comyn's mind that, while he himself, who had 
the better claim to the throne, and had done and suffered 
so much for Scotland^ was regarded with disfavour, the 
Bruces, who had consulted only their own ease and 
interest, and had maintained allegiance to the English 
king, should have been practically promised the reversion 
of the Scottish crown by Edward I. 

Matters were in this state when, according to Wyntoun, 
the two barons found themselves riding together from 
Stirling. The question of the claim to the throne was 
broached, and Bruce, it is said, made the proposal that 
one of them should give his estates to the other, and be 
supported by that other in an attempt for the crown. 
Comyn, Wyntoun says, agreed to give up his claim to the 
throne and accept Bruce's lands, and, as a result of the 
compact, became acquainted with the plans and alliances 
Bruce was forming for his attempt. Then, when Bruce 
was at the English court, Comyn revealed the matter to 
Edward I. 

This may be merely a popular tale, but nothing else has 
been brought forward to account for what followed. 

Bruce, it is said, questioned at court by Edward I., 
asked leave to go to his lodging for papers proving his 
innocence. There he received a warning from his young 
kinsman, the Earl of Gloucester, who sent him a feather 
or a pair of spurs, and forthwith he fled to the north. Five 
days later, as he crossed the Border, he met a messenger 
of Comyn's on his way to the English court. The man 
was slain and the letter seized upon him proved the 
treachery of Comyn. A few days later it was in the 
month of February, 1305 the two great barons met at the 
Justice Ayre in Dumfries. To discuss their difference 


Facing page 62. 


they retired to the church of the Minorites, which had been 
built by Comyn's grandmother, the famous Devorgilla, 
heiress of the ancient Lords of Galloway. There, as all 
the world knows, question, reproach, and retort ended in 
Bruce losing his temper, drawing his dagger, and stab- 
bing the Red Corny n in the throat. The deed was 
completed by Bruce's henchman, Kirkpatrick of Close- 
burn, with the unforgotten exclamation " I mak siccar," 
and Sir Robert Comyn, uncle of the slain man, who 
rushed in to save him, met the same fate. 

It was this act which drove Bruce to open war, and 
brought about the ultimate freedom of Scotland ; but 
during the struggle which ensued the king again and again 
paid bitterly for the rash deed he had done at the high 
altar of the Minorites in Dumfries. Alexander of Argyll 
had married the Red Comyn's daughter, and for that 
reason his son, John of Lome, was Bruce's bitterest foe, 
and more than once put the king to the utmost peril of 
his life. John of Lome, of course, was overcome at last, 
and his descendants survive only as private gentlemen, 
the MacDougalls of Dunolly. The same fate sooner or 
later overtook all the other connections of the great house 
of Comyn. The Corny ns themselves, under the leader- 
ship of Comyn, Earl of Buchan, were finally defeated by 
Bruce at the battle of Inverury. For many days, sick to 
death, the king had been carried about in a litter, and the 
hearts of his followers had begun to fail, when the Earl of 
Buchan and Sir David of Brechin made the attack; where- 
upon the king, calling for his warhorse, mounted, led his 
little force to battle, and vanquished his sickness and his 
enemies the Comyns at the same time. Buchan fled to 
England, while Bruce burned his earldom from end to end 
to such effect 

That eftir that, weile fifty yheir, 

Men menyt " the Heirschip of Bouchane." 

The son of the Red Comyn was the last of his line, and 
about the time of his death the collateral branch which 
held the earldom of Buchan also became extinct. 

In the churchyard of Bourtie is to be seen the effigy of 
a knight said to have been one of the Comyns slain in the 
battle of Inverury. 

Gradually throughout the country the Comyns were 
supplanted by other families. An instance of this is the 
occurrence enshrined in the tradition regarding the trans- 
ference of Castle Grant on Speyside to the family of its 
present owners. According to tradition a younger son of 


Grant of Stratherrick eloped with a daughter of a Macgregor 
chief. With thirty followers the pair fled to Strathspey, 
and found a hiding-place in a cavern not far from the 
castle, then known as Freuchie. The Comyns naturally 
looked with disfavour upon such an invasion, and tried 
to dislodge the band, but Grant kept possession of the 
cave. Then Macgregor descended Strathspey at the head 
of a party of his clan, and demanded his daughter. His 
son-in-law was astute. Receiving him with every show of 
respect, he contrived in the torchlight and among the 
shadows of the wood to make his men appear a much 
larger following than his father-in-law had supposed, and 
a complete reconciliation took place. Grant then pushed 
his advantage farther. He complained of the attacks of 
the Comyns, and induced Macgregor to join in an assault 
on Freuchie. By stratagem and valour they took the 
stronghold ; the chief of the Comyns was slain in the attack, 
and his skull remains a trophy in possession of the Earl 
of Seafield to the present day. 

The Comyns at Dunphail had a similar fate, which is 
well told by Mr. George Bain in his book on the Findhorn. 
When Bruce's nephew, Thomas Randolph, was made 
Earl of Moray, the Comyns found their old privileges as 
Rangers of the king's forest of Darnaway restricted. By 
way of reprisal the Comyns set out, a thousand strong, 
under the leadership of young Alastair of Dunphail, to 
burn Randolph's new great hall at Darnaway. The force, 
however, was ambushed by the Earl at Whitemire, and 
cut to pieces. Young Alastair Corny n fought his way to 
the Findhorn. He found the further bank lined by the 
Earl's men, but, throwing his standard among them with 
the shout " Let the bravest keep it," he leapt the chasm 
at the spot wrongly called Randolph's Leap, and with 
four of his followers made his escape. Moray then 
besieged Alastair's father in his Castle of Dunphail, and 
brought the garrison to starvation point. On a dark 
night, however, the young man managed to heave some 
bags of meal from a high bank into the stronghold. Next 
day, by means of a bloodhound, he was tracked to a cave 
on the Divie. He begged to be allowed out to die by the 
sword, but was smoked to death by the Earl's men. Then 
the heads of himself and his companions were thrown into 
his father's courtyard, with the shout " Here is beef for 
your bannocks." The old chief took up the head of his 
son. " It is indeed a bitter morsel," he said, " but I will 
gnaw the last bone of it before I surrender." In the end 
the little garrison, driven by hunger, sallied out and were 


cut to pieces. Early in the nineteenth century the minister 
of Edinkilly found the skeletons of young Alastair and his 
companions, seven in number, at a spot still known from 
the fact as the " grave of the headless Comyns." 

The Comyns were still powerful, however, after Bruce's 
time. Edward III., when he overran Scotland in the 
interest of Edward Baliol, made David Comyn, Earl of 
Atholl, governor of the country. It was he whom Bruce's 
brother-in-law, Sir Andrew Moray, overthrew and slew at 
the battle of Kilblene, and it was his countess whom Moray 
was besieging in the stronghold of Lochindorb when word 
arrived that the English king and his army were at hand. 
Moray, it is said, put courage into his little force by wait- 
ing to adjust his girths, and even to mend a thong of his 
armour, before retreating. But he knew the passes of the 
Findhorn, and led his little company into safety across the 
river at Randolph's Leap. 

At a later day the Comyns had descended to be merely 
a warring clan among the clans. In their feud with the 
Mackintoshes it was they who attempted to drown the latter 
out by raising the waters round the castle in Loch Moy, 
when the attempt was defeated by a Mackintosh clansmen 
issuing on a raft at night, breaking the barrier, and letting 
the flood loose upon the besiegers. On another occasion 
the Comyns, pretending peace, invited the Mackintoshes to 
a feast at Rait Castle, where at a secret signal, each Comyn 
clansman was to stab a Mackintosh to the heart. But 
Comyn's daughter had revealed the plot to her Mackintosh 
lover; the Mackintoshes gave the signal first, and the 
r i plotters were hoist with their own petard. 

Still another incident of the long feud with the 
Mackintoshes arose out of jealousy regarding a fair dame 
of the time. Comyn of Badenoch had reason to resent the 
attentions paid to his wife by his neighbour, Mackintosh 
of Tyrinie, and the feeling reached its climax when 
Mackintosh presented the lady with no less a gift than a 
Dull and twelve cows. Comyn, thinking it time to 
interfere, invited Mackintosh and his followers to a feast, 
and slew them all. As the Comyns were slowly ousted by 
their Mackintosh and Macpherson neighbours they were 
driven to wild and lawless deeds, and on one occasion, in 
reprisal, Alexander Macpherson, known as the Revenge- 
ful, slew nine of their chief men in a cave to which they 
had resorted for hiding. 

The Comyns, however, were not altogether ex- 
inguished by the warfare and feuds in which they played 
>o striking and unfortunate a part. In the eighteenth 
VOL. i. e 


century their chief was a simple gentleman, Gumming of 
Altyre on the Findhorn. He represented the knight who 
fell with his chief, the Red Comyn, in the church of the 
Minorites at Dumfries. That knight was Sir Robert 
Comyn, fourth son of John, Lord of Badenoch, who died 
about 1275. Early in the eighteenth century, Robert 
Cumming of Altyre married Lucy, daughter of Sir 
Ludovic Gordon, Bart., of Gordonstown, lineally 
descended from William, Earl of Sutherland and his wife 
the Princess Margaret, daughter of King Robert the 
Bruce, and from George, Earl of Huntly, and his wife, the 
Princess Jean, daughter of King James I. Robert 
Cumming's great-great-grandson, Alexander Penrose 
Cumming, through this connection inherited the estate of 
Gordonstown, near Elgin, assumed the name of Gordon, 
and was created a baronet in 1804. He was M.P. for the 
Dumfries burghs. The second baronet was member for 
the Elgin burghs at the time of the Reform Bill. He 
married a daughter of Campbell of Islay and grand 
daughter of John, Duke of Argyll, by his duchess, the 
famous beauty, Elizabeth Gunning. His second son was 
Roualeyn George, the famous lion-hunter, while his 
youngest daughter is the well-known traveller and author, 
Miss Constance F. Gordon-Cumming, and the present 
baronet is his grandson. 

Sir William Gordon-Cumming, Bart., of Altyre, is the 
fourth holder of the title. He succeeded his father in 
1866, and saw active service as a Captain and Lieut.- 
Colonel of the Scots Fusilier Guards. He holds the medal 
with clasp for the South African Campaign of 1879, the 
medal with clasp and the bronze star for the Egyptian 
Campaign of 1882, and two clasps for the Nile Expedition 
of 1884. His possessions in the county, some 38,500 
acres, are considerable for a private gentleman, but will 
hardly compare with the vast possessions once owned by 
his ancestors, the great chiefs of the Comyns of the days 
of King Alexander III. 

It should be added that a considerable body of the 
Comyns at one time, taking offence at being refused inter- 
ment in the family burial-place, changed their name to 
Farquharson, as descendants of Ferquhard, son of 
Alexander, sixth laird of Altyre, in the middle of the 
fifteenth century. 





Facing page 66. 


BADGE : Lus nam Braoileag (vaccineum vitis idea) Red whortle- 

berr3 r . 
PIBROCH : Spaidsearach-Chaisteal Thulaich. 

ACCORDING to the Highland manuscript believed to be 
written by one MacLauchlan, bearing the date 1467, and 
containing an account of the genealogies of Highland 
clans down to about the year 1450, which was accepted as 
authoritative by Skene in his Celtic Scotland, and believed 
to embody the common tradition of its time, the origin of 
the Davidsons is attributed to a certain Gilliecattan Mhor, 
chief of Clan Chattan in the time of David I. This 
personage, it is stated, had two sons, Muirich Mhor and 
Dhai Dhu. From the former of these was descended Clan 
Mhuirich or Macpherson, and from the latter Clan Dhai 
or Davidson. Sir Aeneas Macpherson, the historian of 
the clan of that name, states that both the Macphersons 
and the Davidsons were descended from Muirich, parson 
of Kingussie in the twelfth century. Against this state- 
ment it has been urged that the Roman kirk had no parson 
at Kingussie at that time. But this fact need not militate 
against the existence of Muirich at that place. The Culdee 
church was still strong in the twelfth century, and, as its 
clergy were allowed to marry, there was nothing to hinder 
Muirich from being the father of two sons, the elder of 
whom might carry on his name, and originate Clan 
Macpherson, while the younger, David, became ancestor 
of the Davidsons. Still another account is given in the 
Kinrara MS. upon which Mr. A. M. Mackintosh, the 
historian of Clan Mackintosh, chiefly relies : This MS. 
names David Dubh as ancestor of the clan, but makes him 
of the fourteenth century, and declares him to be of the 
race of the Comyns. His mother, it says, was Slane, 
daughter of Angus, sixth chief of the Mackintoshes, and 
his residence was at Nuid in Badenoch. Upon the whole, 
it seems most reasonable to accept the earliest account, that 
contained in the MS. of 1467, which no doubt embodied 
the traditions considered most authentic in its time. 

The chiefs of the Davidsons are said to have been 
settled in early times at Invernahavon, a small estate in 
Badenoch, at the junction of the Truim with the Spey, and 



when they emerge into history in 1370 or 1386 the holders 
of the name appear to have been of considerable number, 
and in close alliance with the Mackintoshes from whose 
forebears they claim descent. 

The event known as the battle of Invernahavon is well 
known as a landmark in Highland history. According 
to commonly accepted tradition, the older Clan Chattan, 
descended from Gilliecattan Mhor of the time of Malcolm 
Canmore or David I., saw the line of its chiefs come to an 
end in the latter days of the thirteenth century in the 
person of an only child, a daughter named Eva. This 
heiress in 1291 married Angus, the young sixth chief of the 
Mackintoshes, who along with her received from Gilpatrick, 
his father-in-law, not only the lands of Glenlui and 
Locharkaig, but also the chiefship of Clan Chattan. The 
lands of Glenlui and Locharkaig, however, appear to have 
been seized and settled by the Camerons, and eighty or 
ninety years later the dispute regarding their ownership 
came to a head. After many harryings of the Camerons 
by the Mackintoshes and of the Mackintoshes by the 
Camerons, it appears that in 1370 or 1386 accounts differ 
as to the date a body of some four hundred Camerons 
made an incursion into Badenoch. As they returned 
laden with booty they were intercepted at Invernahavon 
by Lachlan Mackintosh, the eighth chief, with a body of 
Clan Chattan which included not only Mackintoshes but 
Macphersons and Davidsons, each led by its respective 
chieftain. At the moment of attack a dispute arose 
between the chiefs of these two septs as to which should 
have the honour of commanding Clan Chattan's right 
wing. Macpherson claimed the honour as male represen- 
tative of the chiefs of the older Clan Chattan ; Davidson, 
on the other hand, insisted that he should have the post as 
the oldest cadet. 

These claims would appear to uphold the account of 
the origin of these two septs which derives them, not from 
the Mackintoshes but from Gilliecattan Mhor, chief of the 
older Clan Chattan. 

Mackintosh, forced to decide in the urgency of the 
moment, gave the post of honour to the Davidson chief, 
and as a result, the Macphersons, highly offended, with- 
drew from the battle. As a result of this, the Mackintoshes 
and Davidsons, greatly outnumbered, were routed and cut 
to pieces. What followed is the subject of a tradition 
given by Bishop Mackintosh in his History of Moray. 
According to this tradition Mackintosh sent his bard to the 
Macpherson camp, where he treated the Macphersons 


round their camp fires to a taunting ballad describing the 
cowardice of men who forsook their friends in the hour of 
danger. This, it is said, so enraged the Macpherson chief 
that he forthwith called his men to arms, and fell upon the 
Camerons in their camp at midnight, where he cut them 
to pieces, and put them to flight. 

This battle at Invernahavon appears to have been one 
of the incidents which directly led up to the famous combat 
of " threttie against threttie before King Robert III. on 
the North Inch of Perth in 1396. According to the 
chronicler Wyntoun, the parties who fought in that combat 
were the Clan Quhele and the Clan Kay, and authorities 
have always differed as to who these clans were. Accord- 
ing to some, the battle was a direct outcome of the mutual 
jealousy of the Macphersons and Davidsons following the 
rupture at Invernahavon; and the Gaelic name of the 
Davidsons, Clan Dhai, which might easily be mistaken 
by a Lowland chronicler for Kay, lends some superficial 
colour to the claim. It is scarcely likely, however, that 
the Macphersons and Davidsons were at that time so 
important as to warrant a great national trial by combat 
such as that on the North Inch, which has made such a 
striking mark in Scottish history. The probability seems 
rather to be that the combat within the barriers before 
King Robert III. was between Clan Chattan as a whole 
and Clan Cameron. According to the Kinrara MS., Clan 
Quhewil was led on the North Inch by a Mackintosh 
chieftain, Shaw, founder of the Rothiemurcus branch of 
the family. 

Maclan, in his Costumes of the Clans of Scotland, is 
evidently seeking a pretext when he asserts that it was 
mortification at defeat on the North Inch which drove the 
Davidsons into obscurity, and finally induced the chief 
with some of his followers to remove further north, and 
settle in the county of Cromarty. It seems more likely 
that the decimation of their ranks at Invernahavon, and 
the losses caused by subsequent feuds, so reduced the 
numbers of the clan as to render it of small account during 
the succeeding century. 

Lachlan Shaw in his MS. history of Moray states that 
early in the seventeenth century the Invernahavon family 
changed its name from Davidson to Macpherson, the 
individual who did so being James of Invernahavon, 
commonly called Seumas Lagach, great-grandfather of 
John of Invernahavon. But Mr. A. M. Mackintosh, the 
historian of Clan Chattan, has ascertained that the James 
of Invernahavon referred to was son of a John Macpherson, 


who, according to Sir Aeneas Macpherson's MS., had 
feued the property. It can thus be seen how Lachlan Shaw 
made the mistake of supposing that the Davidsons of 
Invernahavon had changed their name. 

The historian of Clan Chattan above referred to offers 
another theory to account for the comparative disappear- 
ance of Clan Davidson from the historic page, by pointing 
out that two of the name were concerned in the murder of 
Lachlan, the fourteenth Mackintosh chief, in 1524. One 
of these two, Milmoir MacDhaibhidh, was the chief's 
foster-brother, but believed that Mackintosh had helped 
to destroy his prospects of marrying a rich widow, and 
accordingly, on 25th March, along with John Malcolmson 
and other accomplices, fell upon the chief and slew him 
while hunting at Ravoch on the Findhorn. For this deed 
the three assassins were seized and kept in chains in the 
dungeon on Loch-an-Eilan till 1531, when, after trial, 
Malcolmson was beheaded and quartered, and the two 
Davidsons were tortured, hanged, and had their heads 
fixed on poles at the spot where they committed the crime. 
Mr. Mackintosh also points out that another Davidson, 
Donald MacWilliam vie Dai dui, conspired with the son 
of the above John Malcolmson against William, the 
fifteenth Mackintosh chief in 1550, when the head of that 
chief was brought to the block by the Earl of Huntly at 
Strathbogie. The Davidsons who did these things, 
however, were merely servants and humble holders of the 
name, and their acts can hardly have brought the whole 
clan into serious disrepute. 

That the Davidsons did not altogether cease to play a 
part in important events is shown by an entry in the 
Exchequer Rolls (iv. 510) in 1429. This is a record of 
a distribution of cloth of divers colours to Walter 
Davidson and his men by command of the King, and the 
gift is taken to be possibly an acknowledgment of the 
loyalty of the Davidson chief and his clan during the 
Highland troubles of the year. 

Later popular tradition has associated the Davidsons 
with the estate of Davidston in Cromarty, the laird of 
which is mentioned in 1501 and 1508, in the course of a 
legal action taken against Dingwall and Tain by the 
Burgh of Inverness. Here again, however, the historian 
of Clan Chattan has pointed out that, according to Fraser 
Mackintosh's Invernessiana, pages 175-184, the owners of 
the estate of Davidston were a family named Denoon or 

In any case, however, the Davidsons had taken root in 


this neighbourhood. In the second half of the seventeenth 
century Donald Davidson owned certain land and other 
property in Cromarty. His son, Alexander Davidson, was 
town clerk of the county town, and his son William 
succeeded him in the same office. In 1719 this William 
Davidson married Jean, daughter of Kenneth Bayne of 
Knockbayne, nephew and heir of Duncan Bayne of 
Tulloch. The son of this pair, Henry Davidson, born in 
1729, made- a great fortune as a London West India 
merchant. His wife was the daughter of a shipmaster of 
Cromarty, who was son of Bernard MacKenzie, last 
Bishop of Ross. In 1763, when the estate of Tulloch was 
sold by the creditors of the ancient owners, the Baynes, it 
was purchased by Henry Davidson for ,10,500, and has 
since been the seat of his family. 

On the death of Henry Davidson, first of Tulloch, in 
1781, he was succeeded by his brother Duncan. This laird 
was an energetic and notable man in his day. On the 
Tulloch estate he carried out vast improvements, including 
the reclamation of a great stretch of land from the sea, 
and the construction of the main road from Dingwall to 
the North. He was provost of Dingwall from 1784 till 
1786, and M.P. for Cromarty from 1790 to 1796. This 
laird's son, Henry, was, like his uncle, a successful West 
India merchant in London, and, like his father, was a 

g-eat planter of woods and reclaimer of land. His son, 
uncan, the fourth laird of Tulloch, began life as an 
officer in the Grenadier Guards. His first wife was a 
daughter of the third Lord MacDonald, and his return to 
Parliament as member for Cromarty in 1826 was the 
occasion of great celebrations in the countryside. As a 
politician he was chiefly noted for his opposition to the 
Reform Bill. An enthusiastic sportsman, he was the 
reviver of horse racing at the Northern Meeting at 
Inverness, and he drove the first coach which ran from 
Perth to Inverness, on the Queen's birthday in 1841. At 
his death in 1881 he was succeeded by his eldest son, 
Duncan, who married Georgina, daughter of John 
MacKenzie, M.B., of the Gareloch family, and in turn 
died in 1889. His son, the sixth and present laird, who 
was born in 1865, married in 1887 Gwendoline, daughter 
of William Dalziel MacKenzie of Farr and of Fawley 
Court, Buckinghamshire. He was trained for a com- 
mercial career, but after fourteen years in London, his 
health breaking down, he retired to live at Tulloch. He 
takes an active part in county business, is a J.P., D.L., 
and Honorary Sheriff-Substitute, as well as county 


commissioner for the Boy Scouts and chairman of various 
county boards. A keen sportsman and horticulturist, he 
takes a lively interest in farming, gardening, shooting, 
fishing, and all games, and as a reflection of his tastes the 
gardens and policies of Tulloch Castle are among the most 
beautiful in the north. 

Tulloch is an ancient barony held by rights from the 
Crown. The first Davidson lairds took much pleasure in 
filling the castle with valuable portraits and works of art, 
and it was a cause of much regret when in July, 1845, tne 
castle was burned down and most of its contents destroyed. 

On 25th March, 1909, with a view to the formation of 
a Clan Davidson Society, the Laird of Tulloch called a 
meeting of holders of the name at the Hotel Metropole in 
London. Some sixty members of the clan were present, 
when it was proposed, seconded, and carried that Davidson 
of Tulloch be recognised and acknowledged as chief of the 
clan. The act was questioned in a letter to the Northern 
Chronicle, in which the writer pointed out that, while for 
a long period of years writers on Highland history had all 
pointed to Tulloch as the chief, this must be taken as an 
error seeing that The Mackintosh was the only chief of 
Clan Chattan. In proof of this statement it was pointed 
out that in 1703 twenty persons named Dean alias 
Davidson had at Inverness signed a band of manrent 
declaring that they and their ancestors had been followers, 
dependents, and kinsmen to the lairds of Mackintosh, and 
were still in duty bound to own and maintain the claim, 
and to follow, assist, and defend the honourable person of 
Lachlan Mackintosh of that ilk as their true and lawful 
chieftain. A long correspondence followed pro and con, 
but it was pointed out by later writers that the acknowledg- 
ment of Mackintosh by twenty Davidsons as supreme head 
of the Clan Chattan confederacy did not prevent the 
Davidson sept from possessing and following a chief of 
their own. As a matter of fact, history shows them to have 
had a chief at the battle of Invernahavon, and by all the 
laws of Highland genealogy the clansmen were fully 
entitled to meet and confirm the claim of their present 
leader and head. 

Two other landed families of the name In the north are 
the Davidsons of Cantray and the Davidsons of Inchmarlo. 
The former are believed to have been settled on the lands 
of Cantray, an ancient property of the Dallases, for at 
least two hundred years. In 1767-8 the lands of Cantray 
and Croy were purchased by David Davidson, son of 
William Davidson and Agnes MacKercher, who afterwards 


added Clava to the estate. This laird married Mary, 
daughter of George Cuthbert of Castlehill, Sheriff- 
Substitute of Inverness, and is alluded to in the statistical 
account of 1842 as " a man of singular sagacity, of most 
active powers of mind, and practical good sense," and as 
" a liberal-minded and fatherly landlord." His son, 
another David, was knighted by King George III., and his 
grandson, Hugh Grogan, the fifth laird, was convener of 
the country of Inverness. His son, Hugh, the present laird, 
as an officer of the Seaforth Highlanders, served through 
the Afghan War of 1880, for which he holds a medal. 

Inchmarlo, again, was purchased in 1838 by Duncan 
Davidson, son of John Davidson of Tilliechetly and Dess- 
wood on Deeside. The present laird of Inchmarlo is his 
grandson, Duncan, while his youngest son's son is 
Francis Duncan Davidson, late captain in the Cameron 
Highlanders and now owner of Desswood. 

It should be added that Davidson of Tulloch is 
hereditary keeper of the royal castle of Dingwall. 

Among notable holders of the name of Davidson 
mention must be made of the redoubtable provost of 
Aberdeen, Sir Robert Davidson, who led the burghers of 
the city at the battle of Harlaw in 1411, and gallantly fell 
at their head. It is said to be his armour which is still 
treasured in the vestibule of the City Chambers at 
Aberdeen, and when the great old church of St. Nicholas 
in that city was being repaired a generation ago his 
skeleton was recognised by a red cloth cap with which he 
had been buried. 

Another notable clansman was John Davidson, Regent 
of St. Leonard's College at St. Andrews in the days of 
Queen Mary, and afterwards the minister of Liberton near 
Edinburgh, who quarrelled with the Regent Morton, 
opposed the desire of James VI. to restore prelacy, excom- 
municated Montgomerie, Bishop of Glasgow, at the desire 
of the General Assembly in 1582, and was author of 
Memorials of His Time. 

All of the name of Davidson are not necessarily 
members of the clan, but those of Highland descent are 
still numerous enough to afford a handsome following for 
their chief at the present hour. 


Davie Davis 

Dawson Dow 

Kay Macdade 

Macdaid MacDavid 


BADGE : Lus mhic Righ Bhreatinn (thymis syrpillum) mother 

of thyme. 
PIBROCH : Spaidsearachd Duic Pheart, the Duke of Perth's March, 

and the Lady Sarah Drummond. 

IN view of the recent devastating war with Austria- 
Hungary, it is curious to remember that, according 
to tradition, one at least of the great historic houses of 
Scotland derives its descent from Hungarian stock. The 
commander of the vessel in which Edgar the Atheling, 
with his mother and his sisters Margaret and Isabella, set 
sail for Hungary to escape the usurpation of Harold, is 
said to have been Maurice, son of George, son of Andrew, 
King of Hungary. As every Scotsman knows, the 
vessel was driven into the Firth of Forth, and the Princess 
Margaret presently became the wife of the mighty 
Canmore, Malcolm III., King of Scots, with far-reaching 
effects on the subsequent history of Scotland. The King, 
it is said, made Maurice Steward or Thane of Lennox, a 
title still held by the Drummond chief, and bestowed upon 
him the lands of Drymen on the Endrick, from which his 
descendants took their name, and which they continued to 
possess for some two hundred years. It is said to have 
been in commemoration of their ancestor's achievement in 
bringing Queen Margaret to Scotland that, when coats of 
arms came into existence, the Drummonds adopted the 
device of three bars wavy, or and gules, represent- 
ing the sunset waves of the North Sea. In the time of 
Alexander II., Maurice's great-great-grandson, Malcolm 
Beg Drummond, further secured the status of his family 
by marrying Ada, daughter of the Earl of Lennox, and 
granddaughter of the High Steward of Scotland ; and his 
grandson, Sir John Drummond of that ilk, Thane of 
Lennox, appears in history as a stout defender of Scottish 
liberty against the usurpation of Edward I. of England. 
He was summoned to Parliament as one of the greatest 
barons of the kingdom. It was his son, again, Sir 
Malcolm Drummond, who suggested to King Robert the 
Bruce the strewing of caltrops in the way of the English 



Facing page 74. 


cavalry at the battle of Bannockburn. " Gang warily," 
the family motto adopted by his descendants, is said to 
bear reference to that suggestion. For his services on that 
occasion he obtained from the King certain lands in 
Perthshire, which had the effect of removing the family 
seat from Loch Lomondside to the central district of 

It was a few years later that the house made its first 
alliance with the Royal family. Margaret Logie, the 
beautiful, imperious second wife of Bruce's son, David II., 
was a daughter of the house of Drummond. Though she 
was the widow of John de Logie, who had been executed 
for his part in the great Soulis conspiracy against King 
Robert the Bruce, King David was infatuated with the 
spell of her beauty, and could refuse her nothing; and 
with her extravagant pilgrimages to Canterbury and the 
satisfaction of such personal spites as that by which she 
induced the King to cast the Steward and his sons into 
prison, she led David a pretty dance, till he divorced her 
at Lent in 1369. Hereupon she collected her wealth, 
betook herself to the Papal Court at Avignon, and 
continued to make trouble till her death shortly afterwards. 

Meantime, by the marriage of Sir John Drummond, 
grandson of the Drummond who fought at Bannockburn, 
to Mary the daughter and heiress of Sir William de 
Montifex, the family had come into possession of Stobhall 
on the Tay and large possessions in Perthshire, and a 
further alliance with the royal house was made when 
Sir John's eldest daughter Annabella became the wife of 
King Robert III., and was crowned with him at Scone 
in September, 1390. Through this marriage all the 
succeeding Kings of Scotland and of Britain have been 
descended from the House of Drummond, and there is 
Drummond blood in the veins of most of the crowned 
heads of Europe. 

Annabella's elder brother, Sir Malcolm, married Isabel 
Countess of Mar, sister of the Earl of Douglas who fell at 
Otterburn. Sir Malcolm was murdered by Alexander 
Stewart, natural son of the fierce Wolf of Badenoch and 
grandson of Robert II., who forcibly married the Countess 
and assumed the title of Earl of Mar, fighting under that 
name at Harlaw and Inverlochy. Annabella's younger 
brother, Sir John, who succeeded as Chief of the Drum- 
monds, was Justiciar of Scotland. 

But the house had not yet reached the summit of its 
fortunes. The Justiciar's great-grandson, another Sir 
John Drummond, of Cargill and Stobhall, was a dis- 


tinguished statesman in the reign of James III., and for 
his services as Ambassador Extraordinary to England, to 
arrange the marriages of the King and his sons with 
princesses of the House of York, was made a Lord of 
Parliament in 1487. 

Drummond, however, had secret hopes of seeing 
another daughter of his house seated on the Scottish 
throne. The King's eldest son, the Duke of Rothesay, 
then a lad of sixteen, had already shown a striking 
partiality for Lord Drummond's eldest daughter, the 
Lady Margaret, and when the prince took arms against 
his father, Lord Drummond appeared upon his side. 
After the fall of James III. at Sauchieburn, the young 
prince, now King James IV., embarked with his young 
mistress upon a wonderful life of royal revels and 
gaiety. At Linlithgow Palace a splendid succession of 
shows and theatrical entertainments, of hunting parties by 
day and dances and masked balls at night, were got up 
for the pleasure of the youthful pair, while James lavished 
priceless gifts upon his lovely young mistress. Deeply 
enamoured, and in his youthful ardour, James, it is said, 
became affianced to the beautiful girl, and intended to 
make her his queen, and the advances of the royal lover 
appear to have received every encouragement from her 
father, Lord Drummond, both at Court and at the family 
seat of Stobhall on the Tay. Something of the ardour of 
the time and the glamour of the royal love match is to be 
read in the stanzas of a poem of the period, " Tay is Bank," 
preserved in the Bannatyne Manuscript. The poet, who 
might be the royal lover himself, describes the spot at 
blossom time: 

Quhair Tay ran down with stremis stout, 
Full strecht under Stobschaw; 

and he describes in the most exuberant language the 
charms of the lady herself : 

This myld, meik, mansuet Mergrit, 

This perle polist most quhyt, 
Dame Natouns deir dochter discreit, 

The dyamant of delyt; 
Never forniet was to found on feit 

Ane figour more perfyte, 
Nor non on mold that did hir meit, 

Mjcht merk hir wirth and myte. 

The nobles of Scotland, however, had other views for 
their sovereign's future. So long as the alliance with 


the fair Lady Margaret remained only a distraction, they 
were prepared to regard it as a mere sowing of wild oats, 
but when the lady gave birth to a daughter, and it was 
rumoured that she had been secretly married to the King, 
they became seriously alarmed. Their desire was that 
James should marry a daughter of the English royal 
house, and when it became clear that the Lady Margaret 
Drummond was a definite obstacle to the match, her fate 
appears to have been sealed. Lord Drummond was just 
then building his new mansion of Drummond Castle in 
Strathearn, and one morning after breakfast there, in 1501, 
the Lady Margaret, with her sisters, Lady Fleming and 
Sybilla, were seized with sudden sickness, believed to 
have been caused by poison, and in a few hours were dead. 
The three lie buried " in a curious vault covered with three 
fair blue marble stones joined close together about the 
middle of the choir of the Cathedral Church of Dunblane." 
At that time the family burying-place at Innerpeffray had 
not yet been built. 

Whatever his sins in conniving at this affair, Lord 
Drummond was to see much sorrow in the years that 
remained to him. His eldest son Malcolm died before him 
unmarried, and his second son William, Master of 
Drummond, had a darker fate. At that time the 
Drummonds were endeavouring to set up a barony burgh 
of Drummond, and the market cross which they actually 
procured for the purpose is still to be seen beside the Town 
House of Crieff. But the Murrays of Auchtertyre had a 
similar ambition, and the cross of Crieff set up by them is 
also to be seen a stone-cast away. The rivalry came to a 
head when the Abbot of Inchaffry commissioned Murray 
of Auchtertyre to poind some cattle of the Drummonds for 
the payment of a debt. William, Master of Drummond, 
raised his clan to avenge the insult. He -was met by the 
Murrays at the little hill of Knockmary, but, reinforced 
by a body of Campbells, the Drummonds put the Murrays 
to flight. The latter took refuge in the little kirk of 
Monzievaird, at Auchtertyre, and the Drummonds, having 
failed to find them, were on the point of returning to their 
own territory, when a Murray, seeing his chance, was 
ill-advised enough to shoot an arrow from a window of the 
kirk, and kill his man. Thereupon the Drummonds, 
heaping brushwood round the little straw-thatched fane, 
set it on fire, and burned to ashes the church itself and 
eight score of the Murrays concealed inside. For this deed 
the Master of Drummond was arrested, tried at Edinburgh, 
and, notwithstanding his father's importance and influence, 


was duly executed. His son Walter, who, on his father's 
death, also became Master of Drummond, likewise died 
before his grandfather, and it was his son David, great- 
grandson of the first Lord, who, on the death of the latter 
in 1519, succeeded as second Lord Drummond. 

Meanwhile a third son of the first Lord, Sir John 
Drummond of Innerpeffray, had distinguished himself 
among the Scottish soldiers of fortune abroad, and had 
become captain of the Scots Guards of Henry II. of 
France. Several considerable families of the name are 
descended from him, but most interesting perhaps is the 
fact that, through the marriage of his second daughter to 
the Master of Angus, he became grandfather of the Earl 
of Angus of James V.'s time, and, by the marriage of that 
Earl of Angus to Queen Margaret, widow of James IV., 
became ancestor of Henry, Lord Darnley, husband of Mary 
Queen of Scots, and ancestor of all the later monarchs of 

To the end of his days the first Lord Drummond con- 
tinued to play a highly distinguished part in Scottish 
history. He was the ambassador sent to the English 
Court by James IV. before the battle of Flodden, to secure 
the necessary delay for his master's warlike preparations; 
and, along with the Earl of Huntly and the Earl 
Marischal, after the fall of James, he gave valuable 
support to the party of the Regent Queen Margaret and 
her husband, the Earl of Angus, against the faction 
headed by the Earl of Arran. It must have been with 
tragic feeling's that, four years before his own death, he 
learned of the death on Flodden's fatal field of James IV., 
whom he had loyally served, and whom he had onoe 
hoped to look upon as a son-in-law. 

David, the second Lord Drummond, himself married a 
princess of the Scottish royal house, Margaret, daughter 
of Alexander, Duke of Albany, and granddaughter of 
King James II. By her, however, he had no children. 
By his second wife, Lilias, daughter of Lord Ruthven, he 
had two sons, Patrick the elder of whom became the third 
Lord Drummond, while James the second son was in 1609 
created Baron Maderty, and became ancestor of the 
Viscounts Strathallan, who were to succeed to the chief- 
ship of the family through this link three hundred years 

Meanwhile the elder line of the Drummonds was to 
continue a highly distinguished and romantic career. 
James, the fourth Lord, after acting as ambassador for 
James VI. to the Court of Spain, was in 1605 created Earl 


of Perth. The earldom was created with remainder to 
heirs male whatsoever, and its first heir was the Earl's 
brother John. This chief of the Drummonds was a 
Royalist officer in the short brilliant campaign of the 
Marquess of Montrose. He married Lady Jean Ker, 
daughter of the first Earl of Roxburghe, through which 
marriage his fourth son .William became second Earl of 
Roxburghe and ancestor of the three first Dukes of that 
name. The third Duke of Roxburghe, with whom the line 
of Drummond Dukes of Roxburghe ended, was the famous 
book collector, after whom a certain well-known book 
binding takes its name. 

Meanwhile the Earl of Perth's eldest son James suc- 
ceeded to his father's own earldom. By Lady Anne 
Gordon, daughter of the Marquess of Huntly, he had two 
sons, both of whom played a distinguished part on the 
Jacobite side at the time of the Revolution and after. The 
elder brother James, fourth Earl of Perth, was Chancellor 
of Scotland, passed with his royal master to France at 
the Revolution in 1689, and was created Duke of Perth 
by James VII. at St. Germains in 1695. His son James, 
Lord Drummond, having taken part in the Earl of Mar's 
rebellion in 1715, was attainted, and therefore could not 
succeed to the Earldom of Perth, which accordingly 
became dormant at his father's death in the following 
year ; but by the Jacobites he was styled the second Duke 
of Perth, that title having been confirmed in France by 
Louis XIV. in 1701, on the death of King James, at the 
same time as the titles of the Dukes of Berwick, Fitz 
James, Albemarle, and Melfort, all of which were Jacobite 
dukedoms in the same position. 

The second Duke had two sons, and it was the elder of 
these, James, the titular third Duke, who was head of 
the family at the time of the last Jacobite rebellion. He 
was living with his mother at Drummond Castle, when it 
became known that Prince Charles Edward had landed in 
the West Highlands. The Government of George II. 
knew his sympathies, and sent an officer, his neighbour, 
Captain Murray of Auchtertyre, to effect his arrest. The 
family were at dinner when Captain Murray arrived, and 
the Duke insisted upon deferring business until the meal 
was over. This being done, after a glass of wine the 
Duke proposed that they should join the ladies, and 
politely opened the door to allow his guest to pass first. 
He did not, however, follow him, but, closing the door and 
turning the key, escaped by another exit, and in a few 
moments was galloping away to join the Prince. He was 


wounded at Culloden, and died on the passage to France 
on board the French frigate La Bellone a month later. 

Something of the Jacobite ardour of the family can be 
gathered from the fact that, after the cause was finally 
lost, his mother caused tHe fine lake at Drummond Castle 
to be formed to cover up for ever with its waters the stables 
which had been polluted by the Hanoverian cavalry of 
the Duke of Cumberland. 

The second Duke's brother, Lord John Drummond, had 
also taken an active part on the Prince's side. Sir John 
Cope, who was afterwards to earn unenviable fame by his 
defeat at Prestonpans, had encamped in the park of his 
house of Ferntower, near Crieff, and on the way north- 
ward to Culloden the Prince himself had lodged both at 
Drummond Castle and at Ferntower. Lord John was 
therefore attainted along with his elder brother, and the 
Drummond estates were forfeited in 1746. It was for him 
that the famous regiment of Royal Scots in the French 
service was raised. He died without issue in 1747, and 
was succeeded in turn by his uncles, John and Edward, 
as fifth and sixth titular Dukes of Perth. Edward, 
however, died without children in 1760, and with him 
ended the whole male line of James fourth Earl of 
Perth, by the attainder of whose son James, Lord 
Drummond, in 1715, the Earldom of Perth had become 

This title was now revived in the person of James 
Drummond, grandson by his first wife of John, second 
son of the third Earl. This John Drummond had been 
General of the Ordnance and principal Secretary of State 
for Scotland in the time of Charles II., and had been 
raised to the peerage as Viscount Melfort in 1685 an d as 
Earl of Melfort in 1686. Like his brother, the fourth Earl 
of Perth, he had followed James VII. to France, and had 
been made Duke of Melfort at the Jacobite Court in 1692, 
with succession to the children of his second wife, the title 
being confirmed as above mentioned by Louis XIV. in 
1701. By an Act of the Scottish Parliament, the Earldom 
of Melfort was attainted and forfeited in 1695, but he 
continued to be known as titular Duke of Melfort. His 
third son William was Abbe"-prieur of Lie"ge, and his 
fourth son, a Lieutenant-General in the French Army, and 
Grand Cross of St. Louis, was ancestor of three generations 
of distinguished officers in the French service who bore 
the title of Comte de Melfort. 

The Duke's eldest son by his first wife, James 
Drummond of Lundin, as already mentioned, came in as 


chief of the Drummonds in 1760. He was served heir to 
the last Earl in 1766, and thereupon assumed the title of 
Earl of Perth. His son, James Drummond, eleventh Earl 
of Perth, had the Drummond estates in Strathearn restored 
to him by the Court of Session and Parliament in 1785. 
At his death in July, 1800, however, these estates passed 
to his only daughter, Lady Willoughby de Eresby, whose 
grandson, the Earl of Ancaster, possesses them at the 
present day. 

Meanwhile John Lord Forth, eldest son by his second 
wife of the first Duke of Melfort, had succeeded as second 
titular Duke of Melfort, and inherited the Melfort estates 
which had been granted to his father by James VII. He 
married the widow of the Duke of Albemarle, who was 
countess and heiress of Lussan in her own right, and he 
had two sons, the younger of whom, styled Lord Louis 
Drummond, was second in command of the Royal Scots 
at Culloden, and became a lieutenant-general in the French 
service, Grand Cross of St. Louis, and Governor of 

It was his grandson James Louis, fourth Due de 
Melfort, and Comte de Lussan, a general in the French 
service, who on the death of the eleventh Earl of Perth in 
1800 became twelfth Earl of Perth and Chief of the 
Drummonds. He died nine months later, and was 
succeeded in all these titles by his brother, Charles 
Edward. In 1803 the latter began proceedings in the 
Court of Session to assert his claim, but had the action 
dismissed for a technical reason, and, as he was a Roman 
Catholic prelate, he could not bring his claim before the 
House of Lords. After his death in 1840, however, his 
nephew, George Drummond, established his pedigree 
before the Conseil d'fitat of France and the Tribunal de la 
Seine, and his right of succession to the French honours 
of Due de Melfort and Perth, Comte de Lussan, and 
Baron de Valrose. He was sixth Due de Melfort and 
fourteenth Earl of Perth, and by Act of Parliament in 
l8 53, was restored to the honours of his house in this 
country as Earl of Perth and Melfort, Lord Drummond of 
Cargil'l and of Stobhall and Montifex, Viscount Melfort 
and Forth, and Lord Drummond of Rickertown, Castle- 
maine, and Galstown, Thane of Lennox, and hereditary 
Steward of Strathearn. 

On the death of this Earl at a great age in 1902, 
however, the entire male line of Patrick, third Lord 
Drummond, became extinct, and the chiefship of the 
:lan, along with the family honours, was inherited by 

VOL. I. F 


Viscount Strathallan, representative of James, Lord 
Maderty, second son of David, second Lord Drummond, 
of the time of King James III. 

The first Lord Maderty was raised to the peerage by 
James VI. in 1609, and, like all others of the Drummond 
family, his house remained steadfast supporters of the 
Stewart cause in Scotland. His second son, Sir James 
Drummond of Machany, was Colonel of the Perthshire 
Foot in the Engagement to rescue Charles I. in 1648, and 
Sir James's grandson, Sir John Drummond, was forfeited 
in 1690 for his adherence to the cause of James VII. at 
th'e Revolution. His eldest son William, however, in 1711 
succeeded his distant cousin of the elder line as fourth 
Viscount Strathallan. 

Meanwhile David, the third Lord Maderty, who married 
a sister of the Royalist Marquess of Montrose, was also a 
supporter of the cause of Charles I.; and William, the 
fourth baron, held a high command like his cousin in the 
ill-starred Engagement of 1648. Later he fought at 
Worcester in the cause of Charles II., and, though taken 
prisoner, managed to escape and join the Royalist remnant 
in the Highlands, till it was dispersed by Morgan in 1654. 
He then joined the army of Russia, and attained the rank 
of lieutenant-general, but at the Restoration returned to 
this country, and was appointed a Lord of the Treasury 
and General of the Forces in Scotland. As a reward of 
his loyalty, he was in 1686 created Viscount Strathallan. 
It was at the death of his grandson, the third Viscount, 
that William Drummond of Machany succeeded to the 
title as above mentioned. 

Having taken arms for Prince Charles Edward, this 
lord was slain at Culloden, and his name, along with that 
of his eldest son, was included in the Bill of Attainder. 

It is interesting here to note that, while Strathallan was 
thus engaged in the Jacobite turmoils of the North, his 
brother Andrew was busy founding the well-known 
banking house of Drummond and Company, London, 
purchased the estate of Stanmore in Middlesex, and 
founded an important family there. 

Meanwhile the representation of the family was con- 
tinued by the son and grandson of the attainted fifth 
Viscount. The grandson, who was a General and 
Governor of Dunbarton Castle, in 1810 petitioned 
fruitlessly for a restoration of the family honours. At i 
his death in 1817, his cousin, James Drummond, son of 
William, second son of the fourth Viscount, became 
representative of the Strathallan family. The family 


honours were restored to him by Act of Parliament in 
1824, and a new chapter in the family history opened. 
This second son, Sir James Drummond, G.C.B., was a 
Lord of the Admiralty, Officer of the Legion of Honour, 
and Knight of the Medjedie, while his third son, 

3dmond, was Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West 

Provinces of India, and his great-grandson is the eleventh 
Viscount, now Earl of Perth, and Chief of the Drummonds. 

f-Iis lordship succeeded his father, the tenth Viscount 
Strathallan, in 1893, and his cousin, the fourteenth Earl of 

Perth, and Drummond Chief, in 1902. 

It is a long and strange tale, this, of a race which 
several times intermarried with the Scottish royal house, 
and several times ruined itself by giving that house its 

oyal and strenuous support ; but there are few families or 
clans which, with so long a record, have so little to stain 
the honourable blazon of their arms. 


BADGE : Diuth fraoch (erica cinerea) fine-leaved heath. 
SLOGAN : Garg'n uair dhuisgear. 

PIBROCH : Failte Tighearn Shruthan, Salute to the Lord of Struan; 
and Riban gorm, the Blue Ribbon. 

THE MacGregors are not the only Scottish clan entitled 
to the proud boast " My race is royal." Clan Mac Arthur 
can produce a vast deal of presumptive evidence to support 
its claim to a descent from the famous King Arthur of 
early British history and tradition. And Clan Robertson 
was placed in a similar position with regard to descent 
from a later monarch by the researches of the historian 
Skene, whose own family may or may not be a branch 
itself of Clan Robertson. It was formerly the habit of 
genealogists to attribute the origin of the Robertson Clan 
to the blood of the MacDonalds, but according to the 
authorities adduced by Skene in his History of the 
Highlanders, the chiefs of the name appear rather to be 
descended from Duncan, eldest son of Malcolm III., 
the great Canmore of the eleventh century. Common 
tradition, again, previously bore that the name Robertson 
was derived from the head of the clan in the days of King 
Robert the Bruce, who, having had certain signal services 
rewarded by that king with a grant of lands on the upper 
waters of the Garry, adopted the king's cognomen as his 
family name. It seems well established, however, that 
the Gaelic name of the Clan Donnchadh, pronounced 
Donnachy, and translated Duncan, was derived from an 
ancestor of that name, fourth in descent from Conan, soif 
of Henry, last of the ancient Celtic Earls of Atholl, while 
the name MacRobert or Robertson takes its origin from 
Robert Reoch of the days of James I. and James II., who 
played a prominent part in the dramatic history of his 

Towards the end of the fourteenth century, in 1392, a 
couple of years after King Robert III. had ascended the 
throne of Scotland, Clan Donnchadh played its part in 
one of the fierce transactions characteristic of that wild 
time. The savage Earl of Buchan, better known as the 




Facing page 84. 



Wolf of Badenoch, a son of Robert II., enraged by the 
spiritual reproof of the Bishop of Moray, had made a 
ferocious descent upon the lands of that prelate, sacking 
and plundering his cathedral of Elgin, and giving both 
cathedral and town ruthlessly to the flames. Immediately 
afterwards, the Wolf's example was followed by one of his 
natural sons, Duncan Stewart, who gathered a great force 
af the wild mountaineers of Atholl and Badenoch, armed 
only with sword and target, and, bursting through the 
mountain passes into the fertile plain of Forfar, proceeded 
to destroy the country, and commit every sort of ravage 
and atrocity. Clan Donnchadh are recorded as among 
the wild clansmen who took part in this raid, and from 
their situation in the uplands of Atholl and on the borders 
of Badenoch itself, it is certain that they must have been, 
by force of compulsion if not by actual inclination, among 
the most constant followers of the Wolf and his savage 
sons. On this occasion Sir Walter Ogilvy, Sheriff of 
Angus, along with Sir Patrick Gray and Sir David 
Lindsay of Glenesk, rapidly gathered together the forces 
of the district, and, though much fewer in numbers, trust- 
ing to the temper of their armour, hastened to meet and 
repel the invasion. They attacked the Highlanders on the 
Water of Isla at a place called Gasklune, but were almost 
immediately overwhelmed. The mountaineers rushed 
upon them with the utmost ferocity, and before that rush 
the knights in steel armour went down like stooks of corn 
in a spate. Ogilvy and his brother, with Young of 
Auchterloney, the Lairds of Cairncross, Forfar, and 
Guthrie, and sixty men at arms, were slain, while Sir 
Patrick Gray and Sir David Lindsay, grievously wounded, 
were only carried from the field with the greatest difficulty. 
The fierceness of the Highlanders on that occasion is 
shown by an incident quoted by historians. Sir David 
Lindsay had pierced one of them through the body with 
his spear and pinned him to the earth, but in his mortal 
agony the brawny cateran writhed himself up, and with a 
sweep of his sword cut Lindsay through the stirrup and 
steel boot to the leg bone, then instantly sank back and 

Strangely enough, this fierce raid was followed by no 
punishment on the part of the weak government; but 
under the rule of the king's brother, Robert, Duke of 
Albany, this was one of the worst governed and most 
turbulent periods in Scottish history. 

The next episode in which Clan Donnchadh played 
an outstanding part was, curiously enough, on the side of 


law and order, though in connection with one of the most 
outstanding crimes which stain the historic page. King 
lames I. had been murdered in the Black Friars Monastery 
at Perth in the early days of 1437, and the murderers, with 
their chief, Sir Robert Graham, had escaped into the wild 
mountains of Mar. The Earl of Atholl had taken a chief 
part in the conspiracy, and the fact that he was the 
immediate neighbour of the Chief of Clan Donnchadh 
might have led that chief also to become a partner in 
the treason. The chief, however, the Robert Reoch 
already referred to, remained staunch in his loyalty to 
the Crown, and, along with John Gorm Stewart, effected 
the capture of the Master of Atholl, the chief conspirator, 
Sir Patrick Graham, and others, who were immediately 
afterwards executed with excruciating tortures. For 
this service the Robertson chief received an addition to 
his family arms of which his successors were always justly 

As already mentioned, it is from this Robert Reoch 
Robert the Swarthy who is sometimes styled Robert 
Duncanson, that in later days the chiefs and members of 
the clan took the name of Robertson. 

Alas ! the next appearance of the Duncanson or Robert- 
son chiefs in the pages of history is much less creditable. 
It was seven years after the assassination of James I. The 
rapacious nobles, Douglas, Crawford, Hamilton, and 
others, had seized the opportunity of the minority of the 
infant James II. to satisfy their own greed and lawless 
desires by all kinds of rapacious deeds. The one true 
patriot of the time, Bishop Kennedy of St. Andrews, 
ventured to withstand their rapacity, and united with the 
former Chancellor Crichton in an effort to restore law and 
order. Forthwith the Earls of Douglas and Crawford, 
with other fierce nobles, among whom is specially 
mentioned as an associate Robert Reoch, gathered 
together a great force, and descending on the Bishop's 
lands in Fife and Angus, burned his farms and villages, 
committed all kinds of savagery, led his vassals captive, 
and utterly laid the country waste. The Bishop retaliated 
by laying the fierce marauders under the Church's ban of 
excommunication, and among those who were thus placed 
outside the pale of all Christian hope and brotherhood in 
this world and the next must have been included the 
Robertson chief. 

There may have been those who saw in the downfall, 
ten years later, of the great house of Douglas, the ring- 
leader of this great national outrage, a fulfilment of the 


good Bishop's curse, but so far as is now known, the 
Robertson chiefs can have been no more than temporarily 
affected by the excommunication. From their chief seat 
and possession, Struan or Strowan Gaelic Sruthan, 
" Streamy " the chiefs were known as the Struan 
Robertsons, the only other Highland chiefs thus taking a 
qualification to their family name being the Cluny Mac- 
Phersons, whose estate of Cluny lay at no great distance 
from that of the Robertsons. Struan was otherwise known 
by the name of Glenerochie, and the possession was 
erected into a barony in 1451. The chief was also 
Dominus De Rannach or Rannoch, and possessed, 
further south, the fifty-five merk land of Strath Tay. 
Early in the sixteenth century, however, the Robertsons 
became involved in a feud with the Stewart Earls of Atholl, 
descended from the Fair Maid of Galloway, heiress of the 
great house of Douglas, and John Stewart, half brother 
of King James II., and son of Queen Joan, widow of 
Jtmes I., by her marriage with the Black Knight of Lome. 
In this feud, about the year 1510, William, the Robertson 
chief, was killed, and, his successor being a child, a great 
part of the Robertson lands was seized by the Earl, and 
never afterwards recovered. At Struan, however, the 
chiefs treasured to the last as an heirloom a mysterious 
stone set in silver, which seems to have been a Scots 
pebble. This was known as the Clach na Bratach, the 
stone of the flag, and was believed to give the Robertsons 
assurance of victory in the field. 

As became their royal lineage the Robertson chiefs 
remained loyal to the House of Stewart throughout the 
troubles of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 
During the civil wars, under Donald Robertson, son of the 
tenth chief, acting for his nephew, then a minor, the clan 
joined the standard of the Great Marquess of Montrose, and 
took part with distinguished bravery at the battle of 
Inverlochy, in which the Campbells were so utterly Over- 
thrown. For his loyalty Donald Robertson was rewarded 
with a pension at the Restoration. Mclan, in his 
Costumes of the Clans, inserts a tradition regarding one 
of the Robertson warriors who particularly distinguished 
himself on this occasion. This individual, who was 
known from his occupation as Caird Beag, the little tinker, 
had slain, it is said, nineteen of the Campbells with his 
own hand. When the conflict was over, he made a fire 
and with some comrades proceeded to cook a meal in an 
iron pot which he had brought with him. The Marquess 
happening to pass, and, being himself without any such 


means of securing a meal, asked the Caird Beag for the 
use of the pot. His request was met with a downright 
refusal, the clansman declaring that he had well earned 
the meal he was preparing, and thought the least favour 
that could be allowed him was to be permitted to refresh 
himself therewith. Montrose, it is said, took the answer 
in good part, exclaiming, " I wish that more little 
tinkers had served His Majesty to-day as well as you 
have done." 

At the Revolution, again, in 1689, Alastair or 
Alexander Robertson of Struan raised his followers, and 
took part with Viscount Dundee, King James' general, in 
the short campaign which ended with the death of that 
romantic personage at the battle of Killiecrankie in Atholl, 
no great distance from the Robertson country. As a con- 
sequence, in the following year, Struan Robertson suffered 
the forfeiture of his estates. He, however, escaped to 
France, and obtained a remission in 1703, and, when the 
Earl of Mar, in the autumn of 1715, raised the standard 
of " James VIII. and III." at Braemar, he was joined by 
the Robertson chief. The military force of the clan at that 
time was reckoned to be 800 men. At Sheriffmuir, Struan 
Robertson was taken prisoner, but managed to escape, 
again obtained a remission in 1731, and again, in 1745, 
was among the most notable Jacobites who joined the 
standard of Prince Charles Edward. His clansmen were 
then said to number 700, though only 200 of these resided 
on the estates then actually owned by the chief. In con- 
sequence of his repeated risings in the Jacobite cause, 
Struan Robertson finally lost his estates, which were 
annexed to the Crown in 1752. Apart from his military 
escapades, this chief, Alexander, the thirteenth of his line, 
remains a notable figure in the history of the Highlands. 
He was no mean poet, and a published collection of his 
pieces, including a curious genealogical account of his 
family, has been described as " very creditable to his 
literary acquirements." In private life he was marked by 
a conviviality of feeling and humour which is said to have 
bordered on eccentricity. 

At a later day, in 1785, part of the old Struan property, 
including the seat of the family, was restored to a repre- 
sentative, and finally came into possession of Major- 
General Duncan Robertson, descendant of Donnchadh 
More of Druimachinn, third son of Robert, the fifteenth 
chief. General Robertson had his residence at Dunal- 
laistair in Rannoch. The oldest cadets of the family were 
the Robertsons of Lude, while the Robertsons of Inches in 


Inverness-shire traced their descent from the house of 
Struan at a very early period, and from them sprang, 
about 1540, the Robertsons of Ceanndace and Glencalvy 
in Ross-shire. The Skenes of Skene have also been 
thought to be a branch of the Robertsons. According to 
this tradition Donnchadh More an Sgian Great Duncan 
of the Dirk migrated from Atholl to Strath Dee, and 
there founded this family. The fact that the head of this 
house who signed the Ragman Roll in 1296 did so as 
John le Skene, seems to favour the tradition of the 
personal origin of the name, while the dirks in the coat 
armour and the Highland supporters in antique costume 
also maintain the theory. But it seems more likely that 
the family of Skene took its name from the parish than 
that the parish took its name from the family. 

Many distinguished men of the name have added lustre 
to the clan. Eben William Robertson, High Sheriff and 
Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire, who died in 1874, 
was the author of Scotland under her Early Kings and 
other historical works of importance. James Robertson, 
Professor of Hebrew at Edinburgh University in the latter 
half of the eighteenth century, was the author of a well- 
known Hebrew grammar. James Burton Robertson (1800- 
1877) was translator of Schlegel's Philosophy of History. 
Sir John Robertson, an Australian squatter, was five times 
Premier of New South Wales. Patrick Robertson, who 
died in 1855, was the distinguished Scottish judge whom 
Sir Walter Scott nicknamed Peter o' the Painch. Thomas 
William Robertson, 1829-1871, was a well-known actor 
and dramatist who acquired fame as the writer of Caste, 
School, Ours, and other society plays of the mid- 
Victorian period. And, greatest of all, there was 
William Robertson the historian (1721-1793), who, when 
minister of Lady Yester's Chapel at Edinburgh in 1759, 
attained enormous success with his History of Scotland. 
He was appointed Principal of Edinburgh University 
three years later, appointed historiographer of Scotland, 
and elected Moderator of the General Assembly in 1763, 
and attained a European reputation with his History of 
Charles V. in 1769. His introduction to the last-named 
work, which comprised an estimate of the Dark Ages, was 
among the first successful attempts in this country to found 
larger theories of history upon considerable accumulations 
of fact. His latest work, A History of America, published 
in 1777, was not less valuable than fascinating, but was 
never completed owing to the outbreak of the revolutionary 
war in America. 



Collier Colyear 

Donachie Duncan 

Duncanson Dunnachie 

Inches MacConachie 

Macinroy MacDonachie 

MacRobbie- Maclagan 

MacRobert Reid 

Roy Stark 


racing page 90. 


BADGE : Muilleag (Oxycoccus palustris) Cranberry bush. 

SLOGAN : Loch Sloidh. 

PIBROCH : Spaidsearachd Chlann Pharlain. 

ONE of the loveliest regions in the West Highlands at the 
present hour is the district about the heads of Loch Long 
and Loch Lomond, which was for some five centuries the 
patrimony of the Chiefs of the MacFarlan Clan. With 
the waves of one of the most beautiful sea lochs of the 
Clyde rippling far into its recesses, and the tideless waters 
of the Queen of Scottish Lochs sleeping under the birch- 
clad slopes on another side, while high among its 
fastnesses, between the towering heights of Ben Arthur 
and Ben Voirlich, shimmers in a silver lane the jewel-like 
Loch Sloy, this ancient territory could not but in the 
course of centuries produce a race of men instinct with the 
love of the mountains and the moors, and all the chivalrous 
qualities which go to make the traditional character of the 
Highlanders of Scotland. This is nothing less than fact 
in the case of Clan Parian, for in origin the Clan was not 
Highland at all, and only became so, like a number of 
others, by long residence among the mountains and the 
lochs, and by intermarriage with native families of Celtic 

It is true that many tellers of the story of the clan 
seek to derive its origin amid the silver mists of a mythical 
Celtic past. According to one account, the clan takes 
descent from a hero who arrived in Ireland with the first 
colonists from Spain, and whose descendants afterwards 
settled in Scotland. Maclan, who mentions this tradition, 
wisely concludes that it " must be classed among the 
Milesian Fables." This tradition was amplified in a paper 
read by the Rev. J. MacFarlane Barrow at a meeting of 
the London branch of the Clan Society, and printed in 
the Clan MacFarlane Journal for January, 1914. Quoting 
from a MS. of the monks of Glenmassan, this writer 
declared that in the veins of the MacFarlans ran " the 
blood of Earls, and not Earls only, if It came to that, but 
of Kings, for was not Alwyn Mor, first Earl of Lennox, 
the great-grandson of Mainey Leamna, the son of Core, 



King of Munster, who was fifth in descent from Con of the 
Hundred Battles, King of Ireland? " 

To descend from these misty altitudes of vague 
tradition, however, to the realm of ascertained fact. It is 
recorded by the greatest of Scottish archaeologists, 
Chalmers, in his Caledonia, quoting from the twelfth- 
century Simeon of Durham, that the ancestor of the family 
was the Saxon Arkil, son of Egfrith. This Arkil, a 
Northumbrian chief who fled to Scotland to escape the 
devastations of William the Conqueror, received from 
Malcolm Canmore the custody of the Levanax or Lennox 
district, and became first founder of the family bearing 
that title. Alwyn, son of Arkil, was a frequent witness to 
the charters of David I. and Malcolm IV., and was created 
Earl of Lennox by the latter King. The son, another 
Alwyn, of the first Earl of Lennox being a minor at his 
father's death, William the Lion gave the earldom in w r ard 
to his brother David, Earl of Huntingdon, but the young 
Earl recovered possession before the year 1199. When he 
died in 1224, he left no fewer than eight sons. Of these, 
Malduin, the eldest, became third Earl of Lennox, and 
Gilchrist, the fourth son, obtained from the latter in 1225 
a charter of the lands of Arrochar, and became ancestor of 
the MacFarlans. Along with Clan Donachy, the Mac- 
Farlans are said to have been the earliest of the clans to 
hold their lands by feudal charter. Like other vassals of 
the Earls of Lennox, the MacFarlan chiefs exercised their 
rights under the stipulation that all criminals condemned 
by them should be executed on the Earl's gallows at Catter. 

One of the earliest traditions connected with the family 
has to do with the great Norse invasion of Hakon, which 
ended at the battle of Largs in 1263. Previous to that 
battle, Hakon sent Olaf, King of Man, with sixty ships, 
up Loch Long. The Norsemen drew their vessels across 
the narrow isthmus of the MacFarlan country, between 
Arrochar and Tarbet on Loch Lomond, and the spot is 
pointed out, at the milestone midway, where the Laird of 
Arrochar hid his family from the fierce Norse raiders. 
Duncan, the second Laird of Arrochar, married Matilda, 
sister of Malcolm, fifth Earl of Lennox he who was the 
friend of Wallace and Bruce, who fought at Stirling 
Bridge and Bannockburn, and fell at Halidon Hill, and 
there is reason to believe that the Laird of Arrochar and 
his followers fought under the Earl of Lennox at Bannock- 
burn. It was to the country of Duncan of Arrochar that 
Bruce escaped on the memorable occasion when he crossed 
the narrow waters of Loch Lomond, and recited to his men 


the great romance of Fierabras; and it is pretty certain 
that Duncan would be one of the little group of the Earl's 
hunting party which shortly afterwards met the King, 
and hospitably entertained him and his little army, in the 
hour of their need, with the fruits of the chase. 

The son of Duncan and Matilda was named Malcolm, 
probably after his uncle the Earl; and Malcolm's son, the 
fourth Laird, was named Pharlan, which has been trans- 
lated Bartholomew. It is from this individual that the 
family have since taken their surname of MacFarlan. 
Pharlan's son Malcolm had a charter confirming him in 
possession of the lands of Arrochar in 1354, and his son 
Duncan, the sixth Chief, married Christian, daughter of 
Sir Colin Campbell of Lochow, and died shortly before 
1460. His son John married a daughter of Sir James Mure 
of Rowallan, and sister of Elizabeth Mure, first wife of 
King Robert II. The next Chief, Duncan, was served 
heir to his father in 1441, and the next, Walter, married 
a daughter of the second Lord Livingstone. 

Meanwhile the original house of Lennox had suffered a 
tragic catastrophe. Donald, the sixth Earl, had left only 
a daughter, Margaret. She married her cousin, Walter de 
Fassalane, on the Gareloch, who, as the earldom appears 
to have been a female fief, became seventh Earl in right 
of his wife. The son of this pair, Duncan, eighth Earl, 
was again the last of his line. His daughter Isabella 
became the wife of Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany, 
grandson of King Robert II., and for a time Regent of 
Scotland. On the return of James I. from his long 
captivity in England, Duke Murdoch, his two sons, 
Walter and Alexander, and his father-in-law Duncan, 
Earl of Lennox, were all arrested, tried, and executed on 
the Heading Hill at Stirling. Afterwards, on the death 
of the Duchess Isabella in 1460, her youngest son's son, 
Lord Evandale, held the earldom in liferent till his death. 
Upon that event occurred the Partition of the Lennox ; 
one-half of the territory went to the daughters of Earl 
Duncan's second daughter, Margaret. These daughters 
were married respectively to Napier of Merchiston and 
Haldane of Gleneagles. The other half went to Elizabeth, 
Earl Duncan's youngest daughter, married to Sir John 
Stewart of Darn ley. In 1473 Darnley obtained a royal 
precept declaring him heir, not only of half the lands, but 
of the title of Earl of Lennox. 

Meantime the heir-male of the old Earls of Lennox was 
the Chief of MacFarlan, and some writers on the Clan 
suppose that the latter took the field in order to assert his 


claim, and suffered the loss of his territory in consequence. 
But there appears to have been no break in the line of 
the Chiefs. The idea that a cadet assumed the chieftaincy 
appears to have arisen from a later Latin charter in which 
Sir John MacFarlan was styled " Capitaneus de Clan 
Pharlane." This, Skene in his Highlanders of Scotland 
took to mean Captain of Clan Parian, but Dr. MacBain, 
editor of the latest edition of the work, points out that 
Capitaneus is really the Latin for Chief. As a matter of 
fact, Andrew MacFarlan of Arrochar married a daughter 
of John, first of the Stewart line of the Earls of Lennox, 
and his successor, Sir John MacFarlan already alluded to, 
was knighted by James IV., and fell along with the Earl 
of Lennox himself at Flodden Field. 

The Chiefs of MacFarlan, indeed, appear to have been 
zealous supporters of the Lennox Earls. It was probably 
in this character that, shortly after Flodden, the Mac- 
Farlans attacked the castle of Boturich on the south shore 
of Loch Lomond, which was part of the ancient property 
of the earldom that had fallen to the share of Haldane 
of Gleneagles. The incident is narrated in Sir David 
Lindsay's well-known poem, " Squyer Meldrum." The 
Laird of Gleneagles had fallen at Flodden, and the Squyer 
was making love to his widow in Strathearn when news 
came that her castle of Boturich was being attacked by 
the wild MacFarlans. Forthwith the valiant Squyer got 
his forces together, and rode to the rescue, driving off the 
marauders and securing the fair lady's property. 

The next Chief, Andrew the Wizard, has recently been 
made the hero of a romance, The Red Fox, by a member 
of the Clan. He married a daughter of the Earl of 
Glencairn, and his son Duncan, who married a daughter 
of Lord Ochiltree, was an active supporter of the Regent 
Lennox during the childhood of Queen Mary. The Mac- 
Farlans, indeed, were among the first of the Highland 
clans to accept the Protestant form of worship. When 
Lennox, afterwards father of Queen Mary's husband, 
Darn ley, took arms in 1544 to oppose the Regent Arran 
and the Catholic party, the MacFarlans, under Walter 
MacFarlan of Tarbet, joined him with 140 men. These 
were Cearnich or light-armed troops, provided with coats 
of mail, two-handed swords, and bows and arrows, and it 
is recorded that they could speak both English and Erse, 
or Gaelic. Three years later, in 1547, the Chief himself 
fell, with a large number of his Clan, at the battle of 

It was the next Chief, Andrew, who became famous by 


H W 

ri " 







the part he played in fighting on the side of the Regent 
Moray at the battle of Langside in 1568. According to 
the historian Holinshed, " The valiance of ane Heiland 
gentleman named MacFarlan stoode the regent's part in 
great stede, for in the hottest brunte of the fighte he came 
up with 200 of his friendes and countrymen, and so man- 
fully gave in upon the flankes of the Queen's people, that 
he was a great cause to the disordering of them. This 
MacFarlane had been lately before condemned to die for 
some outrage by him committed, and obtayning pardon 
through the suite of the countess of Moray he recompensed 
that clemencie by this piece of service now at this batayle." 
MacFarlan 's neighbours, Colquhoun of Luss and the Laird 
of Buchanan, also fought on the side of the Earl of Moray 
at Langside. For his part, MacFarlan received from the 
Regent the right to wear a crest consisting of a demi- 
savage proper, holding in one hand a sheaf of arrows, and 

fointing with the other to a crown, with the motto, " This 
'11 defend." 

This was the most turbulent period of the Clan's 
history, when the frequent raids made by its members upon 
the lowlands brought them an unenviable notoriety. 
From the fact that these raids usually took place on clear 
nights, the full moon came to be known over a considerable 
part of the western lowlands as " MacFarlan's lantern." 
Further, the Clan's "gathering" was significantly 
" Thogail nam Bo," " lifting the cattle." The slogan of 
the Clan was " Lochsloidh," " The Loch of the Host," so 
named from the fact that the gathering-place of the Mac- 
Farlans was upon the shores of that sheet of water. The 
Laird of MacFarlan appears in the rolls of chiefs made out 
in 1587-94 with a view to enforcing the law which macle 
each chief accountable for the peaceful conduct of his 
followers. In the latter year they appear along with the 
MacGregors in the statute for the punishment of theft, reiff, 
oppression, and sorning. The MacFarlans also have been 
accused of a part in the assassination of Sir Humphrey 
Colquhoun in his castle of Bannachra in Glenfruin in 1592, 
though, according to the diary of Robert Birrell, burgess 
of Edinburgh, quoted in Irving's History of Dunbarton- 
shire, the assassination was the work of Colquhoun 's own 
brother John. 

In July, 1624, many of the Clan were tried and 
convicted of theft and robbery. Some were punished, 
some pardoned, and a number were removed to the 
uplands of Aberdeenshire and to Strathaven in Banffshire. 
Among other septs of the Clan are the Allans or Mac- 


Allans, settled in Mar and Strathdon, and a large number 
of others are enumerated by the Loch Lomondside 
chronicler, Buchanan of Auchmar. They assumed the 
names of Stewart, M'Caudy, Greisock, Macjames, 
M'Innes, and others. 

The origin of one of the names of septs of the Clan, 
that of the Mac-an-Oighres or Macnaires of the Lennox, is 
said to have been as follows. One of the chiefs left his 
second wife a widow with one son, while the heir by his 
first wife was vain and a little weak-minded. The younger 
brother owned a beautiful grey horse, and on one occasion, 
the elder, setting out for Stirling, desired to ride it in order 
to make a good appearance. The stepmother, a Highland 
Rebecca, refused the loan on the pretext that the steed 
might not come safely back, and at last the young Laird 
signed a deed agreeing to forfeit the lands of Arrochar 
to his half-brother if the horse were not returned. The 
stepmother thereupon bribed the groom to poison the 
horse while away. This was done, and her son entered 
upon possession of the estate. The Clan, however, 
refused to accept him as their Chief, and some years later 
the treacherous document was legally annulled and the 
lands restored to the rightful heir. From this incident 
certain MacFarlans were known to a recent time as Sloichd 
an Eich Bhain, " descendants of the white horse," while 
those who supported the heir took the name of Clann an 

John, the son and successor of the Chief who fought at 
Langside, founded an almshouse at Bruitfort on Loch 
Lomondside, opposite Eilean Vow, and endowed it as a 
hostelry for passing travellers. His son Walter was a 
strong supporter of Charles I. in the Civil War, and in 
consequence had his castle destroyed by Cromwell's men, 
and was fined 3,000 merks. John, the grandson of Walter, 
again, took part against the Stewarts in the Revolution of 
1688, and was Colonel of a volunteer force raised in his 
neighbourhood. His son and successor, Walter, was 
famous as an antiquary, and among other works the 
Lennox Chartulary survives only in his transcript. When 
he died in 1767, his library was purchased by the Faculty 
of Advocates, and is still of much use to antiquarian 
students. His materials were used by Douglas in his 
Peerage of Scotland, and his portrait hangs in the museum 
of the Society of Antiquaries. Alexander MacFarlan, the 
brother of the antiquary, was a successful merchant in 
Jamaica, becoming one of the assistant judges of the 
island, and a member of the Legislative Assembly. He 


was an eminent mathematician and Fellow of the Royal 
Society, and at his death in 1755 left an interesting 
collection of instruments to Glasgow University. 

William, the Chief who succeeded the antiquary Walter 
in 1767, was a physician in Edinburgh. He had three 
sons and three daughters. John, the eldest, who suc- 
ceeded, married Katharine, daughter of James Walkinshaw 
of Walkinshaw, and, among others of a family, he had 
Margaret Elizabeth, who died I2th May, 1846, aged 29. 
A monument on the west side of Grey Friars Church, 
Edinburgh, narrates that " at the period of her decease 
she was the lineal representative of the ancient and 
honorable house of MacFarlan of that Ilk." 

It was in 1785, in the time of the last-named Chief, 
John, that the Arrochar estate was brought to a judicial 
sale. It was purchased by Ferguson of Raith for 
^28,000, and at a later day was acquired by Colquhoun of 
Luss for ,78,000. 

The extinction of the house of the Chiefs is associated 
y tradition with a curious incident. MacFarlan, it is 
id, had on the waters of Loch Lomond a famous flock 
swans with which the luck of the family was associated. 
In the time of the last Chief, one Robert MacPharrie, who 
had the second sight, declared that the days of the Chiefs 
of Arrochar were numbered, and that the sign of this 
ivent would be the coming of a black swan to settle among 
acFarlan's swans. Strangely enough, soon afterwards, 
black stranger was seen among the other birds on the 
loch, remaining for three months before it disappeared, 
nd it was very shortly after this that the barony passed 
>ut of the hands of the MacFarlan Chiefs for ever. 

Among the many distinguished later members of the 
Ian was Principal Duncan M'Farlane of Glasgow Uni- 
/ersity, Moderator of the Church of Scotland at the time 
>f the Disruption, who had the honour of conducting 
^ueen Victoria over Glasgow Cathedral and College in 
842. While he was minister of Balfron, he was among 
he guests invited to meet Sir Walter Scott at Ross Priory 
>n Loch Lomondside. On that occasion he happened to 
larrate to the novelist a folk-rhyme connected with 
"liuchlyvie, then part of his parish. This ran : 


" Baron of Buchlyvie, 
May the foul fiend drive thee 
And a' to pieces rive thee 
For building sic a toun, 

Where there's neither horse meat nor man's meat, 
Nor a chair to sit doun." 
VOL. I. G 


The authorship of the Waverley novels was then a secret ; 
a few weeks later, when Rob Roy was published, and Mr. 
MacFarlane saw his verses at the head of the twenty 
third chapter, he must have had a shrewd guess as to the 

The main stronghold of the Chiefs of MacFarlan was oi 
course the castle of Arrochar, nothing of which now 
remains but a fragment of wall. The later Arrochai 
House, by which it was replaced, is still to be seen 
embedded in the modern mansion of the name on the shore 
of Loch Long. Besides this stronghold the Chiefs ownec 
castles on the island of Inveruglas and on Eilean Vow in 
Loch Lomond, fragments of both of which still remain. 

The most recent chapter in the history of the Clan has 
been the formation of a Clan MacFarlan Society in 
Glasgow and London. The Society has Mr. Walter 
MacFarlan, D.L., Glasgow, as its Honorary Vice 
President, while its acting President is Mr. James 
MacFarlan, representative of the Gartartan branch of the 
ancient family of the Chiefs, descended from Sir John 
MacFarlan, who fell at Flodden. One of the tasks which 
the Society has set itself is the investigation of claims to 
the chiefship, which has been obscure for more than a 


Allan Allanson 

Bartholomew Caw 

Galbraith Griesck 

Gruamach Kinnieson 

Lennox MacAindra 

MacAllan MacCaa 

MacCause MacCaw 

MacCondy MacEoin 

MacGaw MacGeoch 

Macgreusich Macinstalker 

Maclock Macjames 

MacNeur MacNair 

MacNiter MacNider 

MacRobb MacWalter 

MacWilliam Miller 

Monach Robb 

Parlane Thomason 

Stalker Weir 


Facing page 98. 



BADGE : Lus nam braoileag (vaccineum vitis idea) Red whortle- 
SLOGAN : Cairn na chuimhne. 

IT is said of an Earl of Angus, chief of the great house of 
Douglas, in the days of James V., that at Douglas Castle, 
far in the Lanark fastnesses of Douglasdale, he laughed 
at the threats of Henry VIII. of England. " Little knows 
my royal brother-in-law," he said, " the skirts of 
Cairntable. I could keep myself here against all his 
English host." With much more justification might the 
Farquharson chiefs of bygone centuries have laughed at 
the threats of their most powerful enemies. Upper 
Deeside, which was their clan country, was so surrounded 
with a rampart of the highest mountains in Scotland, and 
so narrow and few were the approaches to it through the 
defiles of the hills, that even the kings of Scotland them- 
selves must have hesitated to attack so formidable a 

In the earliest times, as it is to-day, Upper Deeside was 
a favourite resort of royalty. Just as Queen Victoria and 
King Edward and King George have made their way 
thither in the autumns of more recent years, for the 
hunting and the fishing and other Highland delights 
which the district affords in royal abundance, the early 
Scottish kings are said to have resorted thither in their 
time. Craig Coynoch, or Kenneth, is said to take its 
name from the fact that from its summit in the ninth 
century Kenneth II. was wont to watch the chase; and 
not far off, at the east end of the bridge over the Cluny, 
stood Kindrochit Castle, the residence of Malcolm Canmore 
and later kings, from which the neighbouring village took 
its name of Castletown of Braemar. Among other 
raditions of royal visits at that time the great Highland 
Gathering still held here each autumn is said to have been 
founded by the mighty Malcolm, who offered a prize of a 
purse of gold, with a full suit of Highland dress and arms, 
to the man who could first reach the top of Craig Coynoch. 
Here Clan Farquhar, or Finlay, has been settled from the 
" ys at least of King Robert the Bruce. 



According to tradition and family history the chiefs of 
the Farquharsons were lineally descended from the great 
ancient Thanes of Fife. They emerge into the limelight 
of history early in the fourteenth century in the person of 
a redoubtable Shaw MacDuff of Rothiemurchus. It was 
the time when the great house of Comyn, previously 
all-powerful in many quarters of Scotland, was going down 
before the might of the Bruces, their junior competitors 
for the Scottish crown. The Comyn chiefs had their 
headquarters in Badenoch, and Shaw MacDuff with his 
followers performed prodigies of valour in driving them 
out of that country. As a reward King Robert the Bruce 
is said to have appointed him hereditary chamberlain of 
the royal lands of Braemar, about the upper waters of the 
Dee, on the other side of the Cairngorms from his original 
patrimony. Here ever since, with vicissitudes more or 
less dramatic and romantic, the Farquharson chiefs have 
remained settled. 

The son of Shaw MacDuff, founder of the family, was 
a certain Fearchar who lived in the reigns of Robert II. 
and III. From him the clan takes its name of Mac'earchar, 
or Farquharson. He married a daughter of Patrick 
MacDonachadh, ancestor of the Robertsons of Lude. His 
son Donald also married a Robertson, of the family of 
Calveen ; and his son again, another Fearchar, married a 
daughter of Chisholm of Strathglas. This Fearchar left a 
large family, several of whom settled in the Braes of Angus, 
and became ancestors of respectable families there. From 
Finlay Mor, the grandson of this Fearchar, the clan took 
its name of Finlay, otherwise MacKinlay or Finlayson. 

The clan was a member of the great Highland 
confederacy of Clan Chattan, and of course played a part 
in the many feuds in which that confederacy was 
embroiled. Constantly in those early days the Crois- 
tarich, or Fiery Cross, was sent hurrying through these 
glens of the Upper Dee, and brought the Farquharson 
clansmen racing hotfoot to their immemorial gathering- 
place at the foot of Glen Feardar, where still stands their 
famous " Cairn of Remembrance," Cairn-a-Quheen. As 
late as the end of the eighteenth century, according to the 
writer of the Old Statistical Account, " Were a fray or a 
squabble to happen at a market or any public meeting, 
such influence has this word over the minds of the country 
people that the very mention of Cairn-na-cuimhne would 
in a moment collect all the people in this 'country who 
happened to be at said meeting to the assistance of the 
person assailed." 


The Cairn of Remembrance is said to have had its 
origin in a curious custom of the clan. Each man, as he 
came to the gathering-place at the summons of his chief, 
brought with him a stone, which he laid down a little way 
off. On returning after the raid of battle each survivor 
lifted a stone and carried it away. The stones which were 
left were then counted and added to the cairn. In this 
way the number of the dead was ascertained. Each 
stone on the great heap, therefore, represents a Farquhar- 
son who fell long* ago in some one of these forgotten 

The slogan of Cairn-a-Quheen played its part in rousing 
the clan not only in many of the local clan feuds, but in 
not a few of the great battles of the country. Finlay Mor, 
already referred to, carried the royal standard at the battle 
of Pinkie, where he fell with many of his clan in 1547. 
From this fact Finlay Mor's second son Donald got the 
name of Mac-an-Toisach, or " son of the leader." From 
him descended the Farquharsons of Finzean, who, on the 
death without male issue of James Farquharson, tenth 
chief in succession from Fearchar, son of Shaw, succeeded 
to the chief ship of the clan. The present Farquharsons of 
Invercauld are descended from Catherine, the surviving 
daughter and heiress of this house, who was known, in 
Scottish fashion, as Lady Invercauld. This lady married 
Captain Ross, R.N., who again, by the custom of Scotland, 
took the name of the heiress, and so handed on the ancient 
name of the Farquharson chiefs. 

When the civil wars between Charles I. and his English 
and Scottish Parliaments broke out, towards the middle of 
the seventeenth century, the Farquharsons were from the 
first on the side of the king. The National Covenant was 
signed in 1638 as a protest against the king's attempts 
to force the English Liturgy upon Scotland. To this 
Covenant the Farquharsons were opposed, and Donald 
Farquharson of Monaltrie raised several hundreds of the 
clan and joined the Gordons who were defending the town 
of Aberdeen against the Earl of Montrose, who was then 
leader of the Parliament troops on the side of the Cove- 
nant. Six years later Montrose, who had refused to sign 
the second or Solemn League and Covenant, of 1643, and 
who was now a Marquess, took up arms on the side of the 
King and was joined by the Farquharsons " with a great 
number of gallant men." Later, in 1651, when Montrose 
had perished on the scaffold, and the young Charles II. 
had come to Scotland to make a bid for the throne of his 
ancestors, the Farquharsons joined that prince, and, 


following him to England, took part in the battle of 
Worcester, where he was defeated. 

Fifteen years later there occurred on Deeside an 
incident which illustrates well the fierce spirit which still 
survived among the gentlemen of the clan at that time. 
The event is commemorated in the well-known ballad, 
" The Baron o' Brackley," and the leading personages 
were John Gordon of Brackley, near Ballater, and John 
Farquharson of Inverey, above Braemar. According 
to the Gordons Brackley had, in execution of legal 
warrant, poinded some of Farquharson 's cattle. There- 
upon Farquharson raised his followers, marched down to 
Brackley, and proceeded to drive away both his own and 
Gordon's cattle. Upon Brackley sallying forth to prevent 
this t the Farquharsons fell upon him and slew him and his 
brother. The ballad makes out that Brackley and his 
brother were the only men in the house, and that they 
sallied out as a result of the taunts of Brackley's wife, a 
daughter of Sir Robert Burnet of Leys, who forthwith 
engaged in a shameless liaison with Farquharson. The 
ballad concludes : 

O fy on you, lady ! how could ye do sae ? 
You opened your yetts to the fause Inverey. 

She ate wi' him, drank wi' him, welcomed him in; 
She welcomed the villain that slew her baron. 

She kept him till morning, syne bade him be gane, 
And shawed him the road that he shouldna be ta'en. 

" Through Birss and Aboyne," she said, " lyin' in a tour, 
Ower the hills o 1 Glentanar you'll skip in an hour." 

There is grief in the kitchen, and mirth in the ha'; 
But the Baron o' Brackley is dead and awa'. 

For this deed Inverey was prosecuted, and lay in 
outlawry for many years. He is said to have been fierce, 
daring, and active, and is remembered on Deeside as " the 
Black Colonel." 

When the revolution took place the Farquharsons 

turned out, Inverey among them, and joined Viscount 

Dundee. After the battle of Killiecrankie, in which 

undee fell, Inverey had again to go into hiding. On 

s occasion his castle was burned and he himself only 
escaped m his shirt. His hiding-place, still known as the 
Colonel s Cave, may be seen in a glen above the village of 

The Farquharson country, however, was presently to 


see a still greater and more famous event. About the end 
of the reign of Mary Queen of Scots, the Farquharsons 
had effected an excambion with the Earl of Mar, by which 
they exchanged the Haugh of Castletown, near Braemar, 
for the lands of Monaltrie farther down the valley. Soon 
after this transaction the Earl built on the haugh the 
stronghold now known as Braemar Castle. After the 
battle of Killiecrankie King William's government placed 
a garrison in this stronghold to- keep the country in sub- 
jection ; but the clansmen rose, besieged the place, forced 
the soldiers to retire under cover of night, and, to prevent 
a similar encroachment in the future, burnt the Castle. 
The Earl, however, had it restored, and it was here that 
in 1715, insulted by the new Hanoverian king, George I., 
he summoned the Highland chiefs for the great hunting- 
party at which the rising in favour of James VII. and II. 
was planned. Braemar Castle was crowded to overflowing 
on that occasion, and the principal meetings were held 
at the neighbouring house of the Farquharson chief, 
Invercauld. It was accordingly from the dining-room at 
Invercauld, still preserved in the modern mansion, that 
the fiery cross was sent through the glens preparatory 
to the raising of that " standard on the Braes of Mar," on 
the little mount in Castletown at hand which was to mean 
so much of sorrow and disaster for the clans and their 
chiefs. As an immediate result in this neighbourhood, 
Braemar Castle was again burned by Argyll's forces in 
1716, after the battle of Sheriffmuir. 

Meanwhile the Farquharsons had formed part of Mar's 
army which, under Brigadier Mackintosh, was thrown 
across the Forth, and marched into England as far as 
Preston. A noted figure on that march was Fearchar 
gaisgach Hath, " the Grey Warrior." This hero had taken 
part as a lad with the Marquess of Montrose in the Jacobite 
victories of 1645, and he lived to see his last remaining 
son fall, and the hopes of the Jacobites extinguished, at 
the battle of Culloden a hundred years later. After that 
event, at the extreme age of 115, he wandered the country, 
desolate and forlorn, visiting the graves of those who had 
fallen in the last conflict, and known far and near by the 
name above given him. On the way into England in 1715 
in the attempt to defend the house of a widow from 
plunder from a band of Lochaber men he received a wound, 
but this did not prevent him going on with the expedition. 

At Preston, when Brigadier Mackintosh and the little 
Jacobite army found itself on the eve of being attacked by 
Major-General Willis and the Government troops, John 


Farquharson of Invercauld, at the head of a hundred 
chosen Highlanders, took up position at the long narrow 
bridge over the Kibble, and there is little doubt he would 
have made good its defence against his assailants long 
enough to afford the Jacobites time to effect their 
retreat. His force was, however, recalled, and the 
calamitous surrender of the little Jacobite army in the town 
soon followed. 

The Farquharsons were again out at the rising of 1745. 
They were mainly instrumental in defeating the Macleods 
at Inverury, and gave an excellent account of themselves 
at the battles of Falkirk and Culloden. The disastrous 
issue of the rising at the latter battle brought sorrow and 
ruin to many of the clan. After that event, Charles 
Farquharson, the " Meikle Factor of the Cluny," was 
forced to take refuge in the cave known as the Charter 
Chest, in the face of Craig Cluny above Invercauld. It 
was the place in which the chiefs in time of danger were 
wont to conceal their most precious possessions, and so 
secure was the spot that for ten months Farquharson lay 
concealed in it while his house, within earshot below, was 
occupied by soldiers of King George. 

Evidently the Government was impressed by the need 
for laying a strong hand on the Farquharson country. 
About 1720 the forfeited Mar estates had been purchased 
from Government by Lords Dun and Grange, the latter 
being a brother of the Earl of Mar. Ten years later, how- 
ever, Farquharson of Invercauld had purchased the lands 
of Castletown from these owners. About 1748 he leased 
Braemar Castle, with fourteen acres about it, to the 
Government for ninety-nine years at a rental of ^14, and 
they proceeded to repair the house, build a rampart 
around it, and place a garrison within its walls. Four 
years later that shrewd and intrepid pacifier of the 
Highlands, General Wade, carried his great military road 
through Deeside, and in the course of doing so built 
across the Dee what js now known as the Old Bridge of 

But there were to be no more Jacobite rebellions, and 
from that day to this the Farquharson country on Deeside 
has remained in steady repute as a peaceful and law- 
abiding district. The days were over when the laird of 
Invercauld could undertake, for the payment of certain 
blackmail by the city of Aberdeen, to keep three hundred 
men in arms for the landward protection of the burgesses. 
Successive chiefs have devoted themselves to the extensive 
improvement of their estates. In the first half of the 


nineteenth century one of them, in the course of a long 
possession, planted no fewer than sixteen million fir trees 
and two million larch on his estates, besides building as 
much as twenty miles of good roads throughout the 
neighbourhood ; and since the coming of the Royal family 
to the neighbouring estate of Balmoral in 1848 Invercauld 
has seen the constant entertainment of Royalty itself. 
Among other alliances, the Farquharson chiefs have twice 
inter-married with the ducal house of Atholl. 

While there have been many distinguished cadet 
houses of the clan, it should be noted that a number 
bearing the name in the counties of Aberdeen, Banff, and 
Moray are in reality descendants of the Comyns, having 
changed their name after the final overthrow of their 
house, and adopted that of Farquharson as descendants of 
Fearquhard, son of Alexander, the sixth laird of Altyre. 


Coutts Farquhar 

Finlay Finlayson 

Greusach Hardie 

Hardy Lyon 

MacCaig MacCardney 

MacCuaig MacEarachar 

MacFarquhar Machardie 

MacKerracher MacKerchar 

Mackinlay Reoch. 


BADGE : Ros-greine (helium thymum mari-folium) Little sun- 

ABOUT the year 1900 the present writer, in his quiet 
dwelling in the neighbourhood of Loch Lomond, was 
surprised one evening by a visit from a handsome young 
Highlander in a grey kilt, who stated that he had walked 
all the way from Keppoch in Lochaber in the hope of 
finding employment. At a venture the writer suggested 
that his visitor might be of the well-known race of the 
MacDonalds of Keppoch; but the suggestion was met 
instantly with the somewhat disconcerting reply : " Mac- 
Donald I The MacDonalds have only been in Keppoch 
for four hundred years; my people have been there for 
many many hundred years before that." On being asked 
who his people might be, the young adventurer replied 
that his name was MacFhearguis. At the request to write 
down the name, he had some difficulty in doing it, but he 
had no difficulty whatever in describing a long line of 
ancestry which stretched back through Fergus, son of 
Ere, and a long line of Irish kings, to no less a person 
than Scota, the daughter of Pharoah himself. The young 
man explained that a large part of the district now held by 
Cameron of Lochiel had originally belonged to his race, 
and that the^ original Cameron, who was not a Gael but a 
Briton from Dunbartonshire, who had got his name, 
" Cam-shron " or " crooked nose," from damage to that 
feature accruing from his warlike disposition, had origin- 
ally acquired a footing in the country by fighting the 
battles, and marrying a daughter, of the MacFhearguis 
chief. The immediate ancestor of the young man from 
Keppoch, it appeared, had fought at Culloden, and, being 
exiled to America, there married an Indian princess. 
The son of the pair had returned to this country and had 
become the ancestor of the midnight rambler. 

At present (1923) there is living in New York a 
claimant to the Chiefship of the clan, who signs himself 
" Clann Fhearguis of Strachur," who has been the hero 
of many strange adventures, and avers that his ancestors 
possessed lands on Loch Fyneside. 



Whatever the authority for the various parts of the 
statement as given by the astonishing young Highlander 
above mentioned, it is certain, so far as Gaelic tradition 
can go, that the first important settlement on these shores 
from the north of Ireland was made in the year 503 by 
three brothers, Lorn, Fergus, and Angus, sons of Ere, of 
the Royal Scottish race; so Clan Fergusson can claim a 
sufficiently high antiquity for its name, though it may be 
difficult to prove direct descent from these early Scoto- 
Irish chiefs. 

This traditional origin of the clan name was turned to 
amusing and useful account on one historic occasion. In 
1583, after the escape of King James VI. from the Earl of 
Cowrie and other lords of the English faction who had 
made him prisoner at the Raid of Ruthven, he summoned 
a number of hostile ministers of the Kirk to appear before 
him at Dunfermline. Their reception was anything but 
friendly, and the situation was only saved by the quaint 
humour of one of them, Mr. David Ferguson. The King, 
he averred, ought to listen to him if no other, for he had 
relinquished the crown in his favour. Was not he, 
Ferguson, the descendant of Fergus, the first Scottish 
king, and had he not cheerfully resigned the title to his 
Grace, as he was an honest man, and had possession. 
By this, and more to like effect, mixed with some subtle 
flatteries of the King's literary performances, he turned 
James's wrath aside and secured a peaceful dismissal. 

In the sixth century a holder of the name played a part 
which has had far-reaching effect upon the later Christian 
history of Scotland. In the early Life of St. Mungo or 
Kentigern, it is related how in the year 543 that Saint, 
himself a member of the royal British race, having left the 
household of his early protector, St. Serf, at Culross, 
came, at Carnock near Stirling, to the door of a certain 
holy man, Fregus or Fergus, then on the point of death. 
This holy man directed Kentigern to place his body after 
death upon a car, to harness to it two unbroken bullocks, 
and to take it for burial whither the bullocks might lead. 
With his sacred charge Kentigern made his way to a place 
then known as Cathures, now Glasgow, and at a little 
bury ing-ground on the banks of the Molendinar, which 
had been consecrated by St. Ninian 150 years before, 
he buried the body. The spot is now covered by 
Blackadder's Aisle, on the south side of Glasgow 
Cathedral, which is otherwise known, from the fact just 
narrated, as Fergus' Aisle. Within a few yards of it 
Kentigern raised his early chapel and cell, and from that 


spot spread the Christian gospel through the whole 
province of the Strathclyde Britons, before he died in 603. 

Meantime there had been at least one other King of 
Scots of the name of Fergus, which, as a matter of fact, 
is said to be derived from the Gaelic Fear, a man, 
Gais, a spear, and to be cognate to the English name 
Shakespeare; so the Clan Fergus might claim descent 
from several royal forebears, as well as from Fergus, Lord 
of Galloway, in 1165, whose wife was a daughter of 
Henry I. of England. The first solid mention of the 
name in more modern history, however, is in the charter 
by which King Robert the Bruce conferred certain lands 
in Ayrshire on " Fergusio filio Fergusii," who was 
ancestor of the family of Kilkerran, of which Lieut.- 
General Sir Charles Fergusson is the head at the present 
hour. Families of the name, it is true, were to be found 
in other parts of the country, and Thomas, Earl of Mar, 
granted a charter of the lands of Auchenerne in Cromarty 
to Eoghan or Ewen Fergusson, who appears in the 
confirmation granted by David II. at Kildrummie Castle 
in 1364 as " Egoni Filio Fergussii." There have been 
Fergusons for six centuries in Balquhidder, represented 
now by those of Immerveulin and of Ardandamh, the latter 
in Laggan on Loch Lubnaig in Strathyre. Fergussons were 
also to be found in Mar and Athol, where, in the clan map 
included in Brown's History of the Highlands, the neigh- 
bourhood of Dunfallandie is given as the country of 
Baron Fergusson. Dunfallandie is still in possession of 
this ancient family, who have owned it since the time 
of King John Baliol. 

It is difficult to say who claimed the chiefship in those 
early centuries, although in the roll drawn up in 1587 the 
Fergussons appear among the " clanis that hes capitanes, 
cheiffis, and chiftanes quhome on they depend." The 
most notable family of the name, however, since the days 
of Bruce has undoubtedly been that of Kilkerran. 
Another noted family has been that of Fergusson of 
Craigdarroch in Glencairn parish, one of whom remains 
famous as the victor in the tremendous drinking bout 
celebrated in Robert Burns' poem, " The Whistle." 
This family definitely claims descent from Fergus, the 
powerful Lord of Galloway of the twelfth century, already 

From the Fergus Fergusson of Robert the Bruce's 
time, the lands of Kilkerran descended to Sir John 
Fergusson, Knight, of the days of Charles I., when the 
family suffered considerable reverses of fortune, and 


had their lands alienated. Presently, however, John 
Fergusson, son of Simon Fergusson of Auchinwin, the 
youngest son of Sir John, acquired great reputation and 
fortune as an advocate, advanced the funds for clearing 
the family estate, and in 1703 was created a Baronet of 
Nova Scotia. Sir James, the eldest son of the first 
baronet, was also a noted lawyer, who became a judge of 
the Court of Session and Court of Justiciary in 1749, 
under the title of Lord Kilkerran. He married the only 
child of Lord Maitland, son of the fifth Earl of Lauder- 
dale, and grandson of the twelfth Earl of Glencairn, and 
of his nine sons and five daughters, the fourth son George 
also became a Lord of Session as Lord Hermand. The 
eldest son, Sir Adam Fergusson, who was an LL.D., 
represented Ayrshire in Parliament for eighteen years and 
the city of Edinburgh for four. 

Sir Adam's nephew and successor, Sir James 
Fergusson, married the second daughter of the famous Sir 
David Dalrymple, Bart., Lord Hailes, who himself had 
married a daughter of Sir James Fergusson, Bart., Lord 
Kilkerran, and his eldest son and successor, Sir Charles, 
married the second daughter of the Right Hon. David 
Boyle, Lord Justice General of Scotland, and aunt of the 
seventh Earl of Glasgow. The son of this pair was the 
late Right Hon. Sir James Fergusson, Bart., P.C., 
K.C.M.G., of Kilkerran, who, among his many dis- 
tinguished offices was Governor of Bombay, Governor of 
South Australia, and of New Zealand, as well as M.P. for 
Ayrshire and Under-Secretary of State for India and for 
the Home Department. To the end of his life he took an 
active part in public affairs, and was chairman of a 
commission for the furtherance of cotton-growing in the 
British colonies when he was killed in the great earthquake 
at Jamaica in 1907. His wife was a daughter of the 
Marquess of Dalhousie, and his son, Lieut.^General Sir 
Charles Fergusson, Bart., of Kilkerran, the present head 
of the family, is a very distinguished soldier. 

Sir Charles joined the Grenadier Guards in 1883, 
became Adjutant in 1890, and, at the outbreak of the 
Sudan War in 1896, transferred to the Egyptian army, and 
served with the loth Sudanese Battalion throughout the 
campaign of 1896-7-8. During this campaign he was 
severely wounded at Rosaires, was five times mentioned 
in despatches, had the brevets of Major, Lieut.-Colonel, 
and Colonel, and received the D.S.O. and the medal with 
eight clasps. He commanded the 6th Sudanese Battalion 
in 1899, and the garrison and district of Omdurman in 


1 900 and closed his record in Egypt as Adjutant-General 
from' 1901 to 1903. Afterwards he commanded the 3rd 
Battalion of the Grenadier Guards from 1904 till 1907, 
was Brigadier-General on the General Staff of the Irish 
Command from 1907 till 1908, and Inspector of Infantry 
from 1909 till 1913. He is a Justice of the Peace, a Deputy 
Lieutenant of Ayrshire, and a Commander of the Bath. 
In 1901 he married Lady Alice Mary Boyle, second 
daughter of the Earl of Glasgow, by whom he has three 
sons and one daughter. At the outbreak of the great 
European War Sir Charles was appointed to the command 
of the Second Division of the British Expeditionary Force 
in France, receiving the rank of Lieut.-General, and he was 
throughout actively and gallantly engaged in the arduous 
work of the campaign at the Front. 

Among other celebrated people of the name of 
Fergusson a few out of a long list may be noted here. 
One of the most famous was David Ferguson, the 
Reformer, already referred to, who died in 1598, who was 
first a glover, then a minister at Dunfermline, who 
preached before the Regent against the taking away of 
church property, was Moderator of the General Assembly 
twice, and one of a deputation which administered one of 
the numerous admonishments to King James VI . He com- 
piled a collection of Scottish proverbs, and wrote a curious 
critical analysis of the Song of Solomon. There was 
Robert Ferguson, " the Plotter," who died in 1714. He 
took an ardent part in the controversy about the legitimacy 
of the Duke of Monmouth, was one of the chief contrivers 
of the Rye House Plot, was chaplain to Monmouth 's army, 
and accompanied William of Orange in his landing in 1688. 
He afterwards became a Jacobite, and was committed to 
Newgate, but never brought to trial. More famous still 
was Robert Fergusson, the Scottish poet and exemplar of 
Burns, who died in 1774, and for whom Burns erected a 
tombstone in Canongate Churchyard. There was also 
Adam Fergusson, the Professor of Philosophy at Edin- 
burgh, in whose house, the Sciennes at Edinburgh, Sir 
Walter Scott as a boy had his memorable meeting with 
Robert Burns. At the death of Robert Burns' friend, the 
Earl of Glencairn, in 1796, Professor Ferguson made a 
claim to the earldom before the House of Lords as lineal 
descendant of and heir general to Alexander, created Earl 
of Glencairn in 1488, and to Alexander, Earl of Glencairn, 
who died in 1670, through the latter 's eldest daughter, Sir 
Adam's great-grandmother, Lady Margaret Cunningham, 
wife of John, Earl of Lauderdale, and mother of James, 


Lord Maitland, above referred to. But the Lords decided 
" although Sir Adam Ferguson has shown himself to be 
heir general to Alexander, Earl of Glencairn, who died in 
1670, he hath not made out a right of such heir to the 
dignity of the Earl of Glencairn." 

Last who may be noted was Sir Adam Ferguson, son 
of the above and long a familiar friend of Sir Walter Scott, 
who as a Captain of the loist Regiment read the Sixth 
Canto of The Lady of the Lake to his company in the 
lines of Torres Vedras, afterwards became keeper of the 
Regalia of Scotland, and was knighted in 1822. Regard- 
ing him Lockhart in his Life of Scott recounts an amusing 
incident in which the poet Crabbe was concerned. He 
quotes the Life of Crabbe, in which that poet describes 
how on this occasion he met " Lord Errol, and the 
MacLeod, and the Fraser, and the Gordon, and the 
Ferguson," and conversed at dinner with Lady Glengarry. 
In a note regarding the allusion to Fergusson, Lockhart 
says : 

" Sir Walter's friend, the Captain of Huntly Burn, did 
not, as far as I remember, sport the Highland dress on 
this occasion, but no doubt his singing of certain Jacobite 
songs, etc., contributed to make Crabbe set him down for 
a chief of a clan. Sir Adam, however, is a Highlander." 


Fergus Ferries 

MacAdie MacFergus 

MacKerras MacKersey 


BADGE : Bealaidh (spartiuin scorparium) common broom. 

SLOGAN : Lonach. 

PIBROCH : Cath Glen Eurainn. 

As in the case of many other of the Highland clans, there 
are traditions which trace back the genealogy of the 
Forbeses to the blood of the early Celtic kings of Scotland, 
and through them to a still more remote ancestry in the 
royal race of Ireland. These traditions, in so far as they 
concern the Clan Forbes, are detailed at length in a 
brochure by the Honourable Mrs. Forbes of Brux, 
published at Aberdeen in 1911, and entitled Who was 
Kenneth L, King of Scots? This pamphlet claims a 
descent for the chiefs of the clan from Kenneth II. he 
who finally defeated the Picts at Cambuskenneth in 838, 
and united the kingdoms of Picts and Scots and behind 
him, through a more or less hazy ancestry of individuals 
whose relationships are difficult to make out, such as 
Forbhasach, son of a Lord of Ossory, slain in 755, 
Forbasa, Abbot of Rath Aedha in the sixth century, and 
the like, to the misty chiefs of the early Irish Hy Nial. 
That these traditions have been held by the Clan for 
hundreds of years is shown by the facts that the Chiefs, 
down to the battle of Duplin in 1332, were known by the 
name O'Choncar, that more than one later chief, like 
James O'Chonacar the I7th Baron, at the end of the 
eighteenth century, bore the name of those early Celtic 
ancestors, that a son of the second Lord Forbes in 1476 
had his lands on Deeside erected into the barony of 
O'Neil, and that a Master of Forbes as long ago as 1632, 
in the report of an interview, made an allusion to 
relationship, believed to date from early Celtic times, 
between his own race and the race of the MacKays, of 
which Lord Reay was the head. The descriptive name 
Forbhasach, " bold forehead," appears to have been 
common in those times; but as patronymics did not then 
exist, the name cannot be said to have been that of a 
family, or succession of holders from father to son. 

Whatever may be the truth about the remotest 
ancestry of the clan, and whatever might be the relation- 
ship of early individuals bearing names more or less 
resembling that of Forbes, it seems clear that the 
cognomen at present borne by the chiefs and others of the 
race was derived from the lands of Forbes in Aberdeen- 



Facing page 112. 


shire. In the brochure already alluded to it is claimed 
that these lands have been possessed uninterruptedly by the 
Forbes chiefs in right of their descent from the early 
Scottish kings, who personally owned them. In 1736 the 
fifteenth baron wrote : ' ' We know of no person by tradi- 
tion, nor the history of any one, who possessed the lands 
of Forbes before ourselves." At any rate, in the days of 
William the Lion the lands were in possession of the 
family, the first of the name upon record being John de 
Forbes. From Fergus de Forbes, the son of this 
individual, all the Scottish families of the name are 
believed to have descended. The lands were formally 
granted by charter to the head of the house by King 
Alexander II. about the middle of the thirteenth century, 
and towards the close of that century the owner played a 
part in a striking episode which brought his race into 
prominence on the page of Scottish history. 

This owner was Alexander, eldest son of Fergus de 
Forbes, above mentioned. As governor of the royal castle 
of Urquhart on Loch Ness, he made a spirited defence if 
that stronghold against the army of Edward I. x>f England 
in 1303. The Scottish garrison was hard pressed, and 
presently it became evident that it would be starved into 
surrender. The governor did not regard his own fate, 
but he had with him in the castle his wife, then about to 
become a mother, and for her safety and the preservation 
of the succession of his family he was most anxious that a 
means should be found of conveying her through the 
English lines. One day the gate of the castle opened, and 
the English saw a beggar woman driven forth. The tale 
she told was that she had happened to be inside the castle 
when the siege began, but that now, as provisions were 
running short, the garrison were no longer willing to feed 
a useless mouth, and had driven her out. Believing this 
tale, the English allowed her to pass, and the governor 
had the satisfaction of seeing her make her way to safety. 
Shortly afterwards the castle fell, and Forbes with his 
entire garrison was put to the sword. His wife, how- 
ever, shortly afterwards gave birth to a son, and the 
succession of the Forbes family was preserved. The 
gallant governor who thus fell is said to have been other- 
wise known as O'Chonochar, and according to tradition 
he, or a predecessor, ws buried under a rock in Glen 
Urquhart, known to this day as Innis O'Connochar. The 
name is said to have been used by the chiefs of Clan 
Forbes down to a recent period. 

To the posthumous son of the brave governor of 

VOL. I. H 


Urquhart Castle, King Robert the Bruce granted certai 
lands adjoining those already owned by him in Aberdeen- 
shire. This head of the house, who was also named 
Alexander, was with the host under the Regent Earl of 
Mar which was surprised by Edward Baliol at Duplin in 
1332, and he was among those who fell in that disastrous 
battle. His son, Sir John Forbes, was a distinguished 
personage in the reigns of Robert II. and Robert III. 
His wife was a daughter of Kennedy of Dunure, ancestor 
of the noble house of Ailsa, and, of their four sons, the 
second, Sir William, became ancestor of the Lords 
Pitsligo; the third, Sir John, of the Forbeses of Culloden, 
Watertown and Foveran; and the youngest, Alexander, 
of the Forbeses of Brux. 

The eldest son, Sir Alexander de Forbes, when King 
James I. was a prisoner in England, led a following of a 
hundred horse and forty spearmen to France, where he 
fought against the English under Henry V. at the battle 
of Beauge in 1421 and is immortalised by the poet 
Ariosto. Later in life some time between 1436 and 1442 
he was created a Lord of Parliament by James II. His 
wife was a daughter of George, Earl of Angus, and a 
granddaughter of King Robert III., and his eldest son, 
the second baron, married a daughter of William, first 
Earl Marischal, and granddaughter of the first Lord 
Hamilton and the Princess Mary, daughter of King 
James II. Of this second baron's three sons, Duncan of 
Corsindie became ancestor of the Forbeses of Pitsligo and 
other families, while Patrick of Corse, who was armour- 
bearer to James III., became ancestor of the Forbeses of 
Craigievar and the Forbes Earls of Granard in Ireland. 

According to Macfarlane's Genealogical History, the 
Forbes Chiefs had the whole ruling and guiding of the 
King's affairs in the district between Forfar and Caithness 
shires down to the year 1500. Alexander, the fourth 
baron, in 1488, after the death of James III. at Sauchie- 
burn, where Forbes himself had taken part, displayed the 
bloody shirt of the murdered king on a spear, and, 
marching through the north country, summoned all loyal 
subjects to rise and execute vengeance. He succeeded in 
getting together a large force, but on learning of the defeat 
of the Earl of Lennox in the south, he laid down his arms, 
and was pardoned and received into favour by the youthful 
James IV. 

John, the sixth Lord Forbes, was three times married. 
His first wife was Catherine, daughter of John Stewart, 
Earl of Athol, the half-brother of James II., her mother 


being the famous Fair Maid of Galloway, heiress of the 
great race of the Black Douglases, who had first been 
successively married to her cousin William, Earl of 
Douglas, stabbed by James II. in Stirling Castle, and 
afterwards to his brother James, last of the Douglas Earls, 
who was overthrown by King James II. and ended his 
days as a monk in the Abbey of Lindores. By his first 
wife Lord Forbes had one surviving daughter, who married 
the Laird of Grant. By his second wife, a daughter of 
the Laird of Lundin, he had two sons, John and William. 
Of these, the elder, John, was that Master of Forbes whose 
dark and turbulent career furnishes one of the most 
outstanding episodes in the reign of James V. 

Already, in 1527, a fierce feud between the families of 
Forbes and Lesley had, with its ramifications through the 
districts of Mar, Garioch, and Aberdeen, plunged the 
country in blood. Among others of the lawless acts of 
the Master of Forbes was his murder of Seton of Meldrum, 
and he was known to have lent his services to further the 
schemes of Henry VIII. against Scotland. The Master 
had married a sister of the Earl of Angus, the ambitious 
chief of the Douglases, who had married the widow of 
James IV., and for long exercised royal power during the 
boyhood of James V. On the midnight escape of James 
from Falkland, to assume royal power, and banish the 
Douglases from the kingdom, the Master of Forbes took 
a vigorous part in the schemes by which their friends 
endeavoured to secure their return. He appears in 
particular to have been the moving spirit who induced the 
Scottish lords at Wark to mutiny against the Regent 
Albany, and in 1536 he was accused by the Earl of Huntly 
of a design to shoot King James himself as he passed 
through Aberdeen. Upon these charges he and his father, 
Lord Forbes, were both imprisoned. The father was 
acquitted amid much popular rejoicing, but the Master 
was condemned and executed, declaring himself innocent 
of treason, but acknowledging that he ought to die for 
the murder of the Laird of Meldrum. The trial and 
execution of the Master of Forbes took place on i4th July, 
1538, and two days later the beautiful Janet Douglas, 
Lady Glamis, sister of the banished Earl of Angus, was 
condemned and burnt to death for conspiring to poison 
the king. An account of these mysterious events is to 
be found in Pitcairn's Criminal Trials of Scotland. That 
the king believed the Forbes family, apart from the Master 
of Forbes, to have no part in the crime is shown by the 
fact that Lord Forbes was speedily set at liberty, that no 


attempt was made to forfeit the family estates, and that 
William, the Master's younger brother, was appointed to 
an office in the royal household. 

In the reign of James V.'s daughter, Mary Stewart, the 
feud between the Forbeses and their neighbours the 
Gordons came to a height. The Gordons were the great 
upholders of the Roman Catholic Church in the north, 
while the Forbeses were steady supporters of the 
Reformation. In the transactions of the time Adam 
Gordon of Auchendoun, the Earl of Huntly's brother, 
played a conspicuous part. After Gordon had defeated 
the Forbeses in one hard-fought battle, the Regent Earl 
of Mar gave the Master of Forbes some horsemen and five 
companies of foot to support an attempt at dislodging the 
Gordons, who had taken possession of Aberdeen. Forbes, 
however, fell into an ambuscade laid for him by Gordon, 
a certain Captain Carr with a party of hagbutters doing 
great execution among his ranks, along with a company 
of bowmen from Sutherlandshire in the service of 
Auchendoun. On this occasion the Master of Forbes was 
defeated and taken prisoner. 

It is worth noting here, as a clue to some of the ill- 
feeling between the Forbeses and the Gordons, that the 
Master of Forbes here mentioned, and who afterwards 
became eighth Lord, had married a daughter of the Earl 
of Huntly, and had divorced her, as the notorious Earl of 
Bothwell had divorced her sister, Lady Jean Gordon, in 
order to marry Queen Mary. 

Another episode of the strife between the two clans 
was even more dramatic than that above mentioned. 
Part of it is related in one of the best known Scottish 
ballads, " Edom o' Gordon." It was in 1571, when Adam 
Gordon was Acting Deputy-Lieutenant for Queen Mary's 
party in the north, and in the late autumn following the 
incident above narrated. The Gordons summoned the 
House of Tavoy or Corgarf, belonging to John Forbes, to 
yield. Forbes' lady, a daughter of Campbell of Cawdor, 
refused to do this without her husband's instructions, and 
thereupon the Gordons fired the house, and she and her 
family and attendants, twenty-seven persons, were burnt 
within. The ballad relates in true folk-song fashion the 
lady's proud colloquy from her towerhead with the enemv, 
and its cruel answer : 

Out, then, spake the Lady Margaret, 

As she stood on the stair; 
The fire was at her gowd garters, 

The lowe was at her hair. 


But the climax is reached when the lady's daughter, 
suffocating in the smoke, begs to be rolled in a pair of 
sheets, and dropped over the wall. The fair burden is 
received on the point of Gordon's spear. 

Oh, bonnie, bonnie, was her mouth, 

And cherry were her cheeks, 
And clear, clear was her yellow hair, 

Whereon the red bluid dreeps. 

Then wi' his spear he turned her ower 

Oh, gin her face was wan ! 
He said, " You are the first that e'er 

I wished alive again ! ' ' 

He turned her ower and ower again 

Oh, gin her skin was white! 
He said, " I might ha'e spared thy life, 

To ha'e been some man's delight ! " 

The burning of Corgarf, thus chronicled, had a sequel 
which affords a striking illustration of the manners of 
feudal times. The incident is related in Picken's Tradi- 
tional Stories of Old Families, from which it may be 
quoted: "Subsequent to this tragical affair," says the 
writer, " a meeting for reconciliation took place between 
a select number of the heads of the two houses in Lord 
Forbes' castle of Druminor. The difference being 1 at 
length made up, both parties sat down to a feast. The 
eating being ended, the parties were at their drink. 
' Now,' said Huntly to his neighbour chief, ' as this 
business has been satisfactorily settled, tell me, if it had 
not been so, what it was your intention to have done.' 
' There would have been bloody work,' said Forbes, 
' bloody work, and we would have had the best of it. I 
will tell you. See, we are mixed one and one, Forbeses 
and Gordons ; I had only to give a sign by the stroking 
down of my beard, and every Forbes was to have drawn 
the skean from under his left arm, and stabbed to the heart 
his right-hand man.' As he spoke, Forbes suited the 
sign to the word, and stroked down his flowing beard. In 
a moment a score of skeans were out, flashing in the light 
of the pine torches held behind the guests. In another 
moment they were buried in as many hearts; for the 
Forbeses, whose eyes constantly watched their chief, 
mistaking this involuntary motion for the agreed sign of 
death, struck their weapons into the bodies of the 
unsuspecting Gordons. The chiefs looked at each other 
in silent consternation. At length Forbes said, ' This is 


a sad tragedy we little expected ; but what is done cannot 
be undone, and the blood that now flows on the floor 
of Druminor will just help to slocken the auld fire of 
Corgarf.' " 

After the murder of the Bonnie Earl of Moray at 
Dunnibristle in 1592, Lord Forbes, who was Moray's close 
friend and the feudal enemy of his murderer, the Earl of 
Huntly, marched with the slain man's bloody shirt on 
a spear's head through his territories, and incited his 
followers to revenge. 

John, son of the Lord Forbes who played a part in so 
many tragic incidents, and of Lady Margaret Gordon, 
above referred to, was much revered for his pious life. He 
adhered to the Roman Catholic Church, and his fame is 
remembered to the present day under the name he took of 
" Father Archangel." His escape from Scotland to 
Antwerp in the disguise of a shepherd's boy was one of 
the romances of that time. He took the habit of a 
Capuchin friar at Tournay in 1593, and is said to have 
converted 300 Scottish soldiers to Catholicism at Dixmude. 
In 1606, only six weeks after succeeding to the peerage, 
he died of the plague at Ghent while visiting those attacked 
by that disease. A Latin life of him by Faustinus Cranius 
was translated into English, French, and Italian. 

The tenth Lord Forbes was one of the Scottish nobles 
and soldiers of fortune who in the first half of the seven- 
teenth century won fame under the banners of Gustavus 
Adolphus of Sweden. In those wars he attained the rank 
of Lieutenant General, and after his return to Scotland, he 
was sent to Ireland in 1643 as one of the commanders 
entrusted with the suppression of the rebellion there 
against Charles I. 

The twelfth baron was a Lieutenant-Colonel of the 
Horse Guards in the latter years of the seventeenth century, 
and was made a member of the Privy Council by King 
William III. His elder son, the thirteenth baron, had his 
own troubles in the events of his time, since his wife, a 
daughter of William Dale of Covent Garden, lost no less 
a sum than ^20,000 through rash investment in the great 
South Sea Bubble. The sixteenth baron was appointed 
Deputy-Governor of Fort William in 1764, and the post 
was evidently not altogether a sinecure, since he died there 
forty years later. 

The seventeenth baron, already mentioned as bearing 
the name James O'Choncar, distinguished himself as 
>lonel of the 2ist Fusiliers. He served with the Cold- 
stream Guards in Flanders under the Duke of York, and, 


at the Helder under Sir Ralph Abercromby in 1799, 
attained the rank of General in the Napoleonic wars, and 
was made a Knight of the Royal Sicilian Order of St. 
Januarius. He was a representative peer for Scotland, 
acted as High Commissioner to the General Assembly of 
the Church of Scotland from 1825 till 1830, and was created 
a baronet of Nova Scotia. His son, again, Walter, the 
eighteenth baron, commanded a company of the Coldstream 
Guards at Waterloo, and took part in the terrific struggle 
at the Chateau of Hougomont. 

The nineteenth Lord, who succeeded in 1868, was 
premier baron of Scotland, a representative peer, and a 
Deputy-Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire. 

Among the cadet branches of the family it is uncertain 
whether that of Pitsligo or that of Craigievar was the 
elder, there being a doubt as to which of their ancestors, 
Duncan and Patrick respectively, was second son and 
third son of the second Baron Forbes. 

Pitsligo is said to have been acquired by marriage with 
a daughter of Fraser of Philorth in the middle of the 
sixteenth century ; but a hundred years earlier, in 1448, 
John Forbes of Pitsligo was among those slain in the battle 
between the Lindsays and the Ogilvies over the justiciar- 
ship of the Abbey of Arbroath. The fourth and last Baron 
Forbes of Pitsligo was a noted Jacobite, who played a 
conspicuous part in the Earl of Mar's rising in 1715. After 
living abroad for five years he was allowed to return, but 
having raised a regiment for Prince Charles Edward at the 
Jacobite rebellion of 1745, he was attainted, and lived in 
hiding till his death in 1762. 

Meanwhile the second son of the union with the heiress 
of Pitsligo had founded another family. His eldest son, 
William Forbes, married Margaret, daughter of the ninth 
Earl of Angus, and their eldest son, another William, was 
created a baronet of Nova Scotia in 1626. The fourth 
baronet married a daughter of the Earl of Kintore, and 
John, the eldest son of this union, married Mary Forbes, 
daughter of the third Lord Forbes of Pitsligo, through 
whom, on the decease of John, Master of Pitsligo in 1781, 
her descendants became nearest heirs and representatives 
of that noble family. The sixth baronet, Sir William 
Forbes, was the famous Edinburgh banker of the 
eighteenth century. His second son was a Judge of the 
Court of Session under the title of Lord Medwyn, and 
the eighth baronet, who married a daughter of the sixth 
Marquess of Lothian, assumed the additional surname and 
arms of Hepburn, as heir of entail to the barony of Inver- 


may, and as heir at law to the estate of Balmanno, on the 
death of Alexander Hepburn Murray Belshes. 

The Forbeses of Newe are also descended from Duncan, 
son of the second Lord Forbes. Their immediate ancestor 
was William Forbes of Dauch and Newe, younger brother 
of Sir John Forbes, created Lord Forbes of Pitsligo in 
1633. The baronetcy dates from 1823, its first holder 
having been a merchant at Bombay. Ten years later, Sir 
Charles Forbes was served nearest heir-male general to 
Alexander, third Lord Pitsligo, and in the same year the 
Pitsligo arms and supporters were granted him by the 
Lord Lyon. 

The Forbeses of Craigievar, again, are descended from 
Patrick of Corse, armour-bearer to James III., who for 
his services had bestowed upon him the barony of O'Neill. 
The second baron of O'Neill and laird of Corse was known 
significantly as Trail the Axe. The fifth took an active 
part in the settlement of the Church after the Reformation, 
and was for seventeen years Bishop of Aberdeen ; and his 
son, Dr. John Forbes of Corse, was Professor of Theology 
in King's College, Aberdeen, and author of many valuable 
works. The present line is descended from the brother of 
the Bishop, William Forbes of Craigievar, which, by the 
way, means the " Rock of Mar." It was his son who, in 
1630, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia. He com- 
manded a troop of horse on the Parliament side in the 
Civil Wars, and was active otherwise in the public business 
of his time. His son, again, known as " the Red Sir 
John," did much to repair the fortunes of his house, which 
had suffered seriously during the Civil Wars, and he sat 
repeatedly in the Scottish Parliament. Later heads of 
the house also distinguished themselves, and Sir William, 
the eighth baronet, inherited the Sempill peerage as repre- 
sentative of the Hon. Sarah Sempill, eldest daughter of 
John, twelfth Lord Sempill, and wife of Sir William, the 
fifth baronet of Craigievar. The next representative of 
the house, his son, Sir John Forbes Sempill, eighteenth 
Baron Sempill, served through the Suclan and South 
African campaigns. 

Still another notable family of the clan has been that 
of the Earls of Granard in Ireland, who are descended 
from Sir Arthur, sixth son of Trail the Axe, above referred 
to. Sir Arthur settled in Ireland in 1620, and obtained 
extensive territorial possessions from the crown in the 
county of Longford. These were erected into the Manor 
of Castle Forbes, and Sir Archibald was made a baronet 
of Nova Scotia in 1628. Four years later, as Lieutenant- 


Colonel, he accompanied his regiment to take part in the 
wars of Gustavus Adolphus, and was killed in a duel at 
Hamburg. His eldest son distinguished himself under the 
Marquess of Montrose in the Civil Wars, and after the 
Restoration was made a Privy Councillor, Marshal of the 
Army in Ireland, and one of the Lords Justices, before he 
was raised to the peerage in 1673. A year later he raised 
the eighteenth Royal Irish Regiment, and was made Earl 
of Granard. The second Earl was imprisoned by William 
the Third in the Tower, served in Turenne, and took part 
at the battle of Saspach and the siege of Buda. The third 
Earl, distinguished in public service, naval, military, and 
political, died senior admiral of the British Navy. The 
sixth Earl, who opposed the Union with Great Britain, 
was made a peer of the United Kingdom as Baron Granard 
of Castle Donington in Leicestershire, a mansion which 
figured conspicuously in the public eye as the place of 
internment of German officer prisoners during the war 
of 1914. And the present Earl of Granard, eighth of his 
line, has highly distinguished himself in public service as 
a Lord in Waiting, Assistant Postmaster-General, and 
Master of the Horse, as well as special Ambassador to 
announce the accession of King George V. at the courts 
of Lisbon, Madrid, the Hague, Brussels, Copenhagen, 
Stockholm, and Christiania. 

Among other distinguished bearers of the name of 
Forbes, the most famous was Duncan Forbes of Culloden, 
President of the Court of Session, whose exertions at the 
time of the last Jacobite rebellion did much to prevent 
a general rising of the Highland clans, and to preserve 
the throne for George II. Duncan Forbes was descended, 
through the family of Tolquhon in Aberdeenshire, from 
Sir John, third son of Sir John de Forbes, who died in 
1405. He purchased Culloden from the laird of Macintosh 
in 1726, and, according to Marshal Wade, could count 
upon a Highland following of 200 men. 

Altogether, from first to last, there is perhaps no 
Highland family which can boast so many branches 
highly distinguished in so many spheres of public life as 
that which has sprung from the stem of this ancient 
Aberdeenshire house. 






BADGE : lubhar (taxus baccata) the yew-tree. 

SLOGAN : Caisteal Downie; and more anciently Morfhaich. 

PIBROCH : Spaidseareachd Mhic Shimi, and Cumhadh Mhic Shimi. 

THE race of the Erasers, as purely Highland in character 
and Celtic in instinct to-day as any clan in the North, 
must be regarded as undoubtedly of Norman descent. 
The roll of Battle Abbey contains the name of the 
ancestor who came over wkh the Conqueror, and no long 
period of time appears to have elapsed before the earliest 
of the Scottish Frisells or Frasers obtained a settlement 
north of the Border. It is true that Maclan in his Clans 
of the Scottish Highlands suggests that the name Frisell, 
now Fraser, may be a corruption of the Gaelic Friosal, 
for which he suggests as a derivation Frith, a forest, the 
" th " being silent, and siol, *' a race," which would make 
the word Frissel, to mean " the race of the forest "; and 
he cites the traditions in the lower parts of Inverness-shire, 
which, he says, detail forays by the inhabitants of the 
Fraser country as having been carried out by cearnich na 
coille, or " warriors from the woods." But this theory 
appears to be demolished by the fact that the earliest 
Frissels known in Scottish history belonged, not to the 
Highlands, but to East Lothian and the upper valley of 
the Tweed. Their removal into the North of Scotland, 
like that of the Gordons, appears likely to have been a 
comparatively late affair. 

According to the family tradition, the earliest settle- 
ment of the Frisells was in East Lothian and the earliest 
whose name is found in charters is believed to be Gilbert 
de Fraser who lived in the time of Alexander I., in the 
early years of the twelfth century. Very soon the family 
diverged into Tweeddale, and there, on High Tweedsmuir, 
near the sources of the river, Oliver Fraser, Chief of the 
name, built the stronghold called after him, Oliver Castle, 
which continued for several generations to be the chief 
feudal seat of the family. The Fraser territory included 
Biggar on the west, with its castle of Boghall, and 
probably stretched thence to the other Fraser stronghold 
of Neidpath near Peebles, on the east. 



icing page 122. 


The first of the name who played a great part in 
Scottish history appears to have been William Fraser, 
Bishop of St. Andrews and Primate of Scotland. After 
the death of Alexander III. Fraser was appointed one of 
the six guardians and regents of the realm. In strong 
contrast to Robert Wishart, Bishop of Glasgow, who was 
the other churchman appointed regent, Fraser favoured 
the interests of Baliol and Edward I. of England. He was 
indeed the first to solicit the interference of the English 
king in Scottish affairs. In striking contrast appears the 
character of the next of the race to figure in national 
history. Edward I. had defeated Wallace at the battle of 
Falkirk in 1298, but, incensed that the Scots continued to 
resist his usurpation, he appointed John Segrave governor 
of Scotland, and early in 1303 sent him into the country 
at the head of twenty thousand men. With his army in 
three separate camps, Segrave lay near Roslin, when on 
the morning of 24th February a boy rushed in, shouting 
that the Scots were upon them. The news was true. Sir 
John Comyn, the Scottish governor, and Sir Simon 
Fraser had gathered a force of eight thousand horse in the 
Fraser country at Biggar, and by a night march fell upon 
the English unaware. They rapidly defeated the first 
English army under Segrave himself, and were dividing 
the booty, when they were attacked by the second army 
under Ralph the Cofferer. This they also defeated, and 
again thought their work done, when they were assailed by 
the third army under Sir Robert Neville. Though worn 
out by the long night march and the two first fights, they 
attacked and totally defeated this third array, and were 
accordingly able to make the proud boast that in one day 
they had defeated three English armies. 

Sir Simon was one of the truest and bravest of the 
Scottish patriots. After the death of Wallace, and the 
defeat of Bruce at Methuen and Dalrigh, he made a last 
effort for the freedom of Scotland with a small force at 
Kirkencliff, near Stirling, but was defeated and taken 
prisoner. Carried to London in heavy irons, he was led 
through the city crowned with periwinkle, and after a 
similar trial to that of Wallace, suffered the same horrible 
death as a traitor. 

Meantime Sir Simon's brother, Sir Alexander Fraser, 
had been one of the first to join Bruce, and had been among 
the prisoners captured at Methuen, but had been ransomed 
and soon again joined the king. 

After the death of Sir Simon Fraser his estates were 
divided. Through the marriage of one of his 4aughters, 


Boghall and Biggar passed to the Chief of the Flemings, 
while, by the marriage of his other daughter, Neidpath 
passed to the Hays, afterwards Earls of Yester and 
Marquesses of Tweeddale. But the race of the Erasers 
continued to play a striking part in Scottish history. At 
the battle of Halidon Hill in 1333 the fourth division of the 
Scottish army had among its chief captains James and 
Simon Eraser, who were then " veteran leaders of approved 
valour." They were both killed in the battle. 

Meanwhile the family had made its way into the North. 
According to Anderson's History of the Lovat Family, 
Sir Andrew Eraser appears about 1290 as a Highland 
proprietor, the first of his name to do so. The uncle of 
Sir Simon of Biggar, Sir Andrew, married the daughter of 
the Earl of Orkney and Caithness, and through her mother, 
daughter and heiress of Graham of Lovat, came into 
possession of the territory of that name. The family 
settled in the district known as the Aird, between Loch 
Ness and the Beauly Firth in Inverness-shire. From 
Simon, the eldest son and successor of Sir Andrew Eraser, 
the succeeding chiefs took their Celtic patronymic of 
MacShimi, or MacKemmie, as the " sons of Simon," and 
the race seems to have rapidly increased and grown in 
power, for before long the Eraser chief could count upon 
the support of " a good number of barons of his name 
in Inverness- and Aberdeenshires." In 1416, in an 
indenture, Hugh Frisoll, or Eraser, is styled " Lord of 
the Aird and Lovat," and fifteen years later he was 
summoned as a baron to attend the Scottish Parliament. 
By his marriage with Janet, sister and co-heir of William 
Fenton of that Ilk, he materially increased the wealth and 
power of his family, and his son and grandson, the second 
and third Lords Lovat, did the same by marrying 
respectively a sister of David Wemyss of that Ilk, and a 
daughter of the Earl of Glamis. 

It was yet another Hugh Eraser, the fifth Lord Lovat, 
shown to have sat in the Scottish Parliament of I4th 
March, 1540, who took part in one of the most famous 
conflicts of the Scottish clans, that known variously as the 
battle of Lochlochy and as Blar-na-leine, the Battle of the 
Shirts, in 1544. 

Queen Mary was an infant two years old when, through 
a kindly act of the Eraser Chief, a large part of the West 
Highlands suddenly burst into flame. The trouble began 
with the deposition and execution, by his own clan, of 
LJUgal, Chief of Clan Ranald, for certain acts of cruelty 
and oppression. Alastair, his uncle, who was declared 


chief, died in 1530, whereupon the latter's natural son, 
Iain Muidartach, who had been legitimatised, managed to 
secure the estates and the chief ship. Meanwhile Dugal's 
eldest son, Ranald, had been fostered by his uncle, Lord 
Lovat, and on his becoming a man, Lovat determined to 
put him into possession of his father's lands and honours. 
Ranald, however, was ungenerous and unpopular with 
his clansmen, who scornfully nicknamed him Gallda, the 
Stranger or Lowlander. Joined by the Camerons, they 
chased him out of their country, raided some of the Fraser 
territory, and captured the strong castle of Urquhart on 
Loch Ness. In turn they were driven back by the 
Queen's lieutenant, the Earl of Huntly, who, with the 
Laird of Grant, had come to the aid of Lovat. Thinking 
they had dispersed the MacDonalds, Huntly and Grant 
marched homeward up Glen Spean, while Lovat, with 
Ranald Gallda and some four hundred Fraser clansmen, 
set out by the side of Loch Lochy towards the Aird. 
They had not gone far when the MacDonalds suddenly 
appeared descending the hills on front and flank, in seven 
columns, with pipes playing and banners flying. Immedi- 
ately a terrific battle began, without quarter or mercy on 
either side. It was a hot day in July, and, in order 
to fight the better, both sides stripped off their clothes, 
from which circumstance the fight takes its well-known 
name. Traditions of the warlike deeds performed are to 
be found in Gregory's and other histories of the High- 
lands, and so fatal was the issue that of the Frasers it is 
said only one sorely wounded gentleman and four 
followers remained alive, while on the MacDonald side 
there were only eight survivors. Lord Lovat himself and 
his protg, Ranald Gallda, were among the slairr. 

For the next two hundred years the Chiefs of the 
Frasers played their own part in the affairs of the 
Highlands, and the race again came into the limelight of 
general Scottish history in the person of the notorious 
Simon, thirteenth Lord Lovat, of the time of " the 

Upon the death of Hugh Fraser, eleventh Lord Lovat, 
in 1696, Amelia, the eldest of his four daughters, co-heirs, 
proceeded to assume the title. She had, however, 
reckoned without her second cousin, Simon Fraser. 
Simon was the eldest surviving son of Thomas Fraser of 
Beaufort, third son of the ninth lord, and this Thomas, 
being still alive, and the nearest heir-male, was now, as a 
matter of fact, the twelfth Lord Lovat. Simon Fraser 
had no intention to allow the title and chiefship to go 


past him, but the method he took to secure them was that 
of an African savage. His father had been a follower of 
Claverhouse, and had intrigued in the cause of the exiled 
Stewarts, and his chances of a peaceful succession to the 
peerage were not a little doubtful. Simon, however, 
proceeded to make the matter certain in his own way, so 
far, at any rate, as he was himself concerned. First of 
all he made an attempt to carry off his second cousin, 
Amelia, but the attempt did not succeed. Then, gather- 
ing a band of desperadoes, he broke into the bed-chamber 
of Amelia's mother, the dowager Lady Lovat, and 
brutally effected a forced marriage with her, drowning 
her shrieks with the uproar of a band of pipers, and 
carrying her off to an island where she was entirely in 
his power. The lady was a daughter of John, first 
Marquess of Athol, and, her family taking action regarding 
the outrage, Simon Fraser was condemned to death. He 
and his father then took to the woods, and lived fo 
several years as outlaws. In course of time he inducei 
the Duke of Argyll to procure a pardon for his politica 
offences from King William ; but, being summoned befor 
the High Court of Justiciary for his outrage against Lady 
Lovat, he did not appear, and was accordingly outlawed 
Plunging thereat into Jacobite intrigues, he went to 
France. There, by his own account, he was imprisonec 
for three years in the castle of Angouleme, but other 
evidence shows that he was thrown into the Bastille, am 
only obtained release by taking holy orders. Ten years 
later, when the Jacobite rising of 1715 took place, he 
appeared in London, and secured favour by offering his 
services to the Government against the Stewarts; then 
proceeding to Scotland, raised a band of freebooters, witl 
whom he made such a show of loyalty to the House o: 
Hanover that he obtained a free pardon. Meanwhile, on 
the plea that his marriage with Lady Lovat had been 
" merely a joke," he made a marriage with Janet, 
daughter of the Laird of Grant, by whom he had two sons 
and two daughters, and in 1733 he had his title to the 
barony confirmed by the House of Lords. In that year, 
having become a widower, he proceeded to kidnap 
Pnmose Campbell, sister of John, fourth Duke of 
Argyll, and on securing pardon for this new offence, he 
had the audacity to ask for a dukedom. This being 
refused by George II., Simon Fraser again turned his 
coat and began to look to the House of Stewart as a more 
likely furtherer of his ambition. Upon the landing of 
Prince Charles Edward, he held out the hope that he 


would join the rising if given the strawberry leaves, and 
it is said that the patent was actually made out. At the 
same time he endeavoured to impress on the Government 
that he was acting loyally in the Hanoverian interest. 
He had the misfortune of many such schemers, however, 
to fall between two stools. The Jacobite dukedom never 
reached him, he failed to give effective help to the prince 
at the right time, and after the battle of Culloden his 
treason was so evident, that he was one of those upon 
whom the Government's chief displeasure and punishment 
fell. After skulking for a time on an island in Loch 
Morar and elsewhere, he was at last captured in a hollow 
tree, where his bloated body was wedged so tightly 
that he could not have extricated himself. At St. Albans, 
on the way to London, he was sketched by Hogarth, a 
mass of fat and cunning. At the trial in Westminster 
Hall he defended himself with great skill, but the " old 
fox " had come to the end of his career. Eighty years of 
.age, he was convicted and sent to the Tower, and was 
beheaded on gth April, 1747, being the last to die by the 
axe at that historic stronghold. A popular rhyme puts his 
case in a nutshell : 

Lord Lovat's fate indifferent we view, 

True to no king, to no relation true. 

The brave regret not, for he was not brave; 

The honest mourn not, knowing him a knave. 

Strange to say, the son of this " wicked Lord Lovat " 
became one of the most distinguished soldiers of his time. 
As leader of the clan at Culloden, where the Erasers joined 
,at the last moment, he behaved with great valour, and on 
the Highlanders being forced to give way, he marched off 
his clan with banners flying and pipes playing, in the face 
of the enemy. Afterwards, on the plea that he had been 
forced by his father to support the Jacobites, he obtained 
pardon, and in 1757 raised 1,800 Erasers to take part in 
the war against the French. At Louisberg and Quebec 
he and his clansmen played a most distinguished part, 
and in the attack on the latter city, in the difficult landing 
and the battle afterwards on the Plains of Abraham, the 
Erasers covered themselves with glory, and vitally 
contributed to the famous victory which gave Canada 
into our hands. General Simon Eraser also took part in 
the defence of Portugal in 1762, and may be held to have 
redeemed by his valour and loyalty the good name of his 
house. On his death childless in 1782, he was succeeded 
in the chiefship by his half-brother Colonel Archibald 


Campbell Fraser, whose mother was Primrose Campbell 
above referred to. He was British Consul at Tripoli and 
Algiers from 1768 till 1774, M.P. for Inverness-shire 
from 1782 till 1796, and author of a work, Patriots of 
the Family of Fraser, Frisell, Simson, or Yiiz Simon in 
1795. He set up a monument in Kirkhill kirkyard, on 
which his services were duly detailed. His son, who 
died before him in 1803, was a barrister, commanded the 
Fraser Fencibles in Ireland at the crucial period of 1798, 
and was M.P. for Inverness-shire from 1796 till 1802. 

Upon the death of Archibald Campbell Fraser without 
surviving issue in 1815, the line of the wicked Lord Lovat 
came to an end. There have been several claims to the 
title, but the chiefship, it has been decided, passed to 
Thomas Fraser of Lovat and Strichen, great-great 
grandson of Thomas Fraser of Knockie and Strichen 
second son of the sixth Lord Lovat and Janet, daughter 
of Campbell of Cawdor. Thomas Fraser of Knockie am 
Strichen had married Amelia, only surviving child o 
Tames, Lord Doune, eldest son of Alexander, Earl o 
Moray, and exactly 227 years from the time when he 
acquired the estate of Strichen, his descendant became 
representative of the main line. Thomas Alexander 
Fraser of Lovat and Strichen was the twenty-first chief 
He was created Baron Lovat of Lovat in the peerage o 
the United Kingdom in 1837, an d established his righ 
to the fifteenth century Scottish barony of Lovat in the 
House of Lords twenty years later. He married the 
eldest daughter of the Marquess of Stafford, and was Lor< 
Lieutenant and Sheriff Principal of Inverness-shire. His 
son, the twenty-second chief, was also Lord Lieutenant, am 
the present chief, who succeeded in 1887, is his second son 

The present Lord Lovat is the sixteenth Baron of the 
old Scottish creation, and has brilliantly upheld the 
warlike and patriotic traditions of his family. He began 
his military career as a lieutenant in the First Life Guards 
and continued service as a major in the ist Voluntee 
Battalion Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. At the 
outbreak of the South African War he raised from among 
his own clansmen and other Highlanders a mounted force 
known as the Lovat Scouts, which from the experience of its 
members as ghillies, stalkers, and the like, in the High 
lands, and mounted on serviceable active ponies, provec 
most useful during the campaign, and afforded a suggestior 
which has been taken up since in the organisation o. 
the British Army. Lord Lovat was himself mentions 
in despatches during the campaign, and was mad 


successively D.S.O., C.B., C.V.O. and K.C.V.O. On 
his return from South Africa he raised two yeomanry 
regiments to form part of a Highland Mounted Brigade, 
of which he became Lieutenant-Colonel. When the 
war of 1914 broke out, he at once went upon active service 
again, raised further units for his brigade, and proceeded 
to the front as its commander. In time of peace his 
Lordship took a most distinguished part in furthering the 
most vital interests of the Highlands, and in the matter of 
the war his name and fame were an inspiration to every 
Highlander in the field. 

The family seat, Beaufort Castle, occupying a beautiful 
situation near the river and town of Beauly, is a modern 
mansion built on the site of an earlier one of the same 
name razed to the ground after the battle of Culloden in 
1746, and this in turn superseded the still more ancient 
Castle of Lovat near the same spot. 

The chief cadet line of the family is that of Fraser of 
Philorth, which now holds the ancient Scottish barony of 
Saltoun. Sir Alexander Fraser of this branch, who lived 
in the time of James V. and Queen Mary, having inherited 
from his grandfather the baronial burgh of Philorth, 
founded on it the town of Fraserburgh, and established 
there in 1597 a short-lived university. He represented 
Aberdeenshire in the Scottish Parliament in 1596, and was 
knighted by King James VI. In 1669 Alexander 
Abernethy, ninth Lord Saltoun, having died without issue, 
this peerage devolved upon his heir of line, a later Sir 
Alexander Fraser of Philorth, whose mother had been 
eldest daughter of the seventh lord, and who thus became 
tenth baron. He was a zealous Royalist, and commanded 
a regiment on the side of Charles II. at the battle of 
Worcester in 1651. His grandson, William Fraser, 
eleventh Lord Saltoun, married a daughter of Archbishop 
Sharp, murdered by the Covenanters on Magus Muir. He 
wrote a fragment of family history, and planned to bring 
the succession to the Chiefship and the Barony of Lovat 
into his family by marrying his eldest son to Amelia 
Fraser, eldest daughter and heiress of Hugh, eleventh Lord 
Lovat. For this he was seized and imprisoned on Eilean 
Aigas in the Beauly by Simon Fraser, the " wicked lord " 
already referred to, who at that time was anxious to marry 
Amelia himself. In the sequel the Master of Saltoun 
married a daughter of the first Earl of Aberdeen. The 
sixteenth Lord Saltoun, who married a natural daughter 
of the famous Lord Chancellor Thurlow, served with 
distinction in the Napoleonic wars. At Quatre Bras he 
VOL. i. I 


commanded the light companies of the 2nd Brigade of 
Guards, and at Waterloo he held the chief point of French 
attack in the battle, the garden and orchard of Hougomont, 
and led the final charge against the French Old Guard. 
Among his other honours he was K.C.B., K.T., a military 
Knight of Russia and of Austria, and a Scottish 
Representative Peer. His grand-nephew, the present Lord 
Saltoun, eighteenth Baron, is also a Scottish Representa- 
tive Peer. He has been Lieutenant-Colonel of the 2nd 
Battalion Grenadier Guards, and major of the 3rd Battalion 
Gordon Highlanders. It may be noted that Saltoun 
estate itself, in Haddingtonshire, has never belonged to the 
Fraser line of peers, having been sold by Alexander, ninth 
Lord Saltoun, in 1643, to Sir Andrew Fletcher, grandfather 
of the famous Scottish patriot, the opponent of Lauderdale, 
the Duke of York, and the Union with England. 

There are also, among other branches, the Frasers of 
Ledeclune and Morar, represented at present by Sir Keith 
Alexander Fraser, Bart. The family is descended from 
Alexander, second son of Hugh Fraser, an early Lord 
Lovat. A daughter of the house married the fifteenth 
chief, and the baronetcy dates from 1806. 

Other notable members of the clan have been the 

covenanting divine James Fraser, known as Fraser of Brae, 

who suffered imprisonment on the Bass Rock, in Blackness 

Castle, and in Newgate; James Baillie Fraser, the famous 

Asiatic explorer and writer, whose rides from Semlin to 

Constantinople and from Stamboul to Teheran were 

notable events in their time; James Stewart Fraser, 

General and Commissioner in India in the early years of 

last century ; Patrick Fraser, a Lord of Session and author 

of various legal works; John Fraser, the botanist, who 

introduced pines, oaks, azaleas, and other plants from 

America, and Tartarian cherries from Russia, and went to 

America as Collector to the Tsar Paul in 1779; Louis 

Fraser, Curator to the Zoological Society, naturalist to the 

Niger expedition in 1841, and author of Zoologia Typica-, 

and Sir William Fraser, LL.D., the famous Scottish 

genealogist and antiquary, writer of learned accounts oi 

many Scottish families, and founder of the Chair of 

Ancient History and Palaeography at Edinburgh Univer 

sity. From first to last the Frasers have made a mark in 

history as romantic, varied, and useful as that of any 

family in the country. 



Frissell Frizel , 

MacGruer Macimmey 

MacKim MacShimes 

MacSimon MacSymon 

Sim Simon 

Simpson Syme 


BADGE : Eidhean na craige (hedera helix) rock ivy. 

SLOGAN : A Gordon ! a Gordon ! 

PIBROCH : Failte, and Spaidsearachd nan Gordonich. 

THOUGH the origin of the name and family of Gordon 
has often been debated, the weight of evidence favours the 
assumption that the ancestor of the house came from the 
manor of Gourdon in Normandy about the time of the 
Norman Conquest, and that he or a descendant was one of 
the feudal settlers encouraged to come to Scotland in the 
days of Malcolm Canmore and his sons. Early in the 
twelfth century, at any rate, according to Chalmers' 
Caledonia, the ancestor of the race is found settled on the 
lands of Gordon in Berwickshire. A tradition runs_that 
the first of the name to cross the Tweed was a valiant 
knight, a favourite of Malcolm Canmore, who, having 
killed a wild boar which seriously distressed that district 
of the Border, obtained from the King a grant of these 
lands, to which he gave his own surname, and, settling 
there, assumed the boar's head for his armorial bearing in 
commemoration of his exploit. For three centuries at 
least the heads of the house were most closely associated 
with Border history, and when at last they removed their 
chief seat to the North of Scotland they left scions of the 
race, like the Gordons of Lochinvar, afterwards Viscounts 
Kenmure, and Gordon of Earlston, to carry on the tradi- 
tions of the name in the south. In the Berwickshire 
parish, a little north of the village of West Gordon, a 
rising ground ^now covered with plantation, but still called 

the Castles," and showing the remains of fortification, 
is pointed out as the early seat of the family. The original 
Huntly was a village now vanished in the western border 
of Gordon parish, where two farms are still known 
respectively as Huntly and Huntly-wood. 

v ln 1270 Adam de Gordon took part in the Crusade 

organised by Louis XI. of France. From this fact the 

jm family are said to derive their crest and motto. 

In 1309 Sir Adam de Gordon, in return for giving up 

un temporal claims, obtained from the monks of Kelso 



'adng page 132. 


leave to possess a private chapel with its oblations here. 
It was this Sir Adam de Gordon who along with Sir 
Edward Mabuisson was sent to Rome by King Robert the 
Bruce in 1320 as the bearer of the famous letter to the Pope 
drawn up at Arbroath by the Scottish barons, to declare the 
real temper and rights of the Scottish people as against the 
claims of the English Edwards. And it was this same Sir 
Adam who, in recognition of his services, appears to have 
received from Bruce a grant of the lands of Strathbogie 
in Aberdeenshire, which had previously belonged to that 
king's enemies. Strathbogie was one of the five ancient 
lordships or thanages which comprised Aberdeenshire, and 
covered an area of a hundred and twenty square miles. 
Sir Adam fell at the battle of Halidon Hill in 1333. In 
1357 Sir Adam's grandson, Sir John de Gordon, obtained 
a confirmation from David II. of King Robert's grant of 
these lands, and he or his successor obtained another 
confirmation from Robert II. in 1376. 

The chief interests of the family, however, were still on 
the Border, and in the following year the Earl of March, 
with whom was Sir John de Gordon, having burned the 
town of Roxburgh, and the English Borderers having 
retaliated on Sir John de Gordon's lands, the latter crossed 
the Border, carried off a great booty, and, when intercepted 
by a force twice the strength of his own, in a desperate 
affray overthrew Sir John de Lilburn at Carham. In the 
following year, after another fierce conflict, Sir John had a 
chief hand in defeating and taking captive Sir Thomas de 
Musgrave, the English Governor of Berwick. Finally, he 
was one of the knights who took part with the young Earl 
of Douglas in the famous encounter with the forces of the 
Earl of Northumberland on the moonlit field of Otterbourne 
in 1388, and there he fell. 

In that famous encounter, as the well-known ballad 
puts it, 

The Gordons good, in English blood 
They steeped their hose and shoon. 

Fourteen years later, in the days of King Robert III., 
took place the great battle of Homildon Hill, in which 
again the leaders on the two sides were an Earl of Douglas 
and Hotspur, son of the Earl of Northumberland. On this 
occasion occurred a chivalric episode. Sir John Swinton, 
seeing the carnage made in the close Scottish ranks by the 
English bowmen, couched his lance and was about to 
charge. At that moment Sir Adam de Gordon, who had 
long been at deadly feud with him, knelt at his feet, begged 


his forgiveness, and asked the honour of being knighted bv 
so brave a leader. Swinton gave him the accolade and 
tenderly embraced him, then the two, at the head of their 
followers, dashed upon the English. Alas 1 their bravery 
was not followed up; they both fell, and the battle was 

Sir Adam, who was the son of Sir John de Gordon 
mentioned above, was the last male of his line. By his 
wife, daughter of Sir William de Keith, Marischal of 
Scotland, he had an only daughter, Elizabeth. This lady 
married Alexander, second son of William Seton of Seton, 
and from that day to this the heads of the great house of 
Gordon have been Setons in the male line, these Setons 
being, like the Gordons themselves, descended from one 
of the Norman settlers planted in Scotland by King 
David I. 

In right of his wife, Alexander Seton was known as 
Lord of Gordon and Huntly, and his son, another 
Alexander, assuming the name and arms of Gordon, and 
marrying a daughter of Lord Crichton, Chancellor of 
Scotland, was created Earl of Huntly by James II. in 1449 
with limitation to his heirs male by Lord Crichton 's 
daughter. The Earl had been twice previously married, 
first to a granddaughter of the first Earl Marischal, by 
whom he acquired a great estate, but had no children, and 
secondly to the heiress of Sir John Hay of Tullibody, by 
whom he had a son, Sir Alexander Seton, who inherited 
his mother's estates and was ancestor of the Setons of 

The Earl had in 1424 been one of the hostages sent to 
England as security for the ransom of James I., and his 
son George, the second Earl, married the Princess Joanna, 
daughter of that King, from whom all the later heads of 
the house have the royal Stewart blood in their veins. 
Earl George's second' son, Adam, Lord of Aboyne, 
marrying Elizabeth, Countess of Sutherland, became Earl of 
Sutherland in her right, and ancestor of the great Suther- 
land family, while the third son, Sir William Gordon, 
became ancestor of the Gordons of Gight, and so of George 
Gordon, Lord Byron, in the nineteenth century. The 
eldest son, Alexander, the third Earl of Huntly, was he 
who before the battle of Sauchieburn, counselled James III. 
to come to terms with his rebellious nobles, but, his advice 
being overruled, retired like the Earl Marischal and other 
nobles to his estate. Huntly nevertheless took part at 
Sauchieburn. Two years later Huntly was appointed 
Lieutenant of James IV. north of the Water of Esk, and 


from this time the Gordon family figures as perhaps the 
most powerful in the north of Scotland. 

Shortly afterwards occurred the curious episode of 
Perkin Warbeck's visit to Scotland. This " Prince of 
England," as he was called, was received with royal 
honours by James IV. as one of the sons of Edward IV., 
slain by Richard III. in the Tower. The Scottish King 
addressed him as cousin, gave tournaments and other 
courtly entertainments in his honour, and bestowed upon 
him the hand of the Earl of Huntly's daughter, the 
beautiful Catherine Gordon, who was through her mother 
daughter of James I. of the blood royal of Scotland. It is 
of interest in this connection to note that when Perkin 
Warbeck was finally sent out of the kingdom, setting sail 
from Ayr in the ship of Robert Barton, he was accom- 
panied by his beautiful wife, who remained faithfully by 
his side throughout all his future reverses of fortune. 
After his execution in 1498 she was kindly treated by 
Henry VII., who placed her in charge of his queen, and 
gave her a pension. She was known by the English 
populace as the White Rose of Scotland, and afterwards 
married Sir Matthew Craddock, ancestor of the Earls of 
Pembroke. Her tomb is still to be seen in the old church 
at Swansea. 

When insurrection broke out in the Western Isles in 
1505, the Earl of Huntly was sent to quell the northern 
area, and he stormed and took Torquil MacLeod's strong- 
hold of Stornoway. Lastly, on Flodden's fatal field, 
Huntly, along with the Earl of Home, led the Scottish 
vanguard, and opened the battle with the furious charge 
which routed the English van, the only part of the action 
in which the Scots were successful. Sir William, the 
Earl's younger brother, fell in the battle, but Lord Huntly 
himself survived till 1528. His eldest son John, Lord 
Gordon, who died in 1517, married Margaret, natural 
daughter of James IV., and it was his elder son, George, 
who succeeded as fourth Earl. 

This nobleman took an active part in the affairs of 
Scotland in the times of King James V., Mary of Lorraine, 
and Mary Queen of Scots. He was made Chancellor of 
the kingdom in 1546. He also, two years later, obtained 
a grant of the earldom of Moray, but the acquisition led to 
an act which has left a stain upon his name, and it 
ultimately for a time brought about the complete eclipse 
of his house. Among other things, the new earldom made 
him feudal superior of the Clan Mackintosh lands in 
Nairnshire, in addition to those he already controlled in 


Badenoch. Huntly appears to have endeavoured to secure 
eomplete control of his feudal vassal by getting him 
to sign a bond of manrent, but the chief, William 
Mackintosh, refused to bind himself. The Earl then 
proceeded to deprive Mackintosh of his office of Deputy 
Lieutenant. Presently a certain Lachlan Malcolmson, 
who owed Mackintosh a grudge, saw in the difference 
between him and the Earl a means of possible profit and 
revenge. He accordingly brought a charge against the 
chief of conspiring to take Huntly's life. Mackintosh 
was accordingly seized, and thrown into a dungeon at 
Bog of Gight. Thence Huntly carried him to Aberdeen, 
tried him there in a court packed with his own followers, 
and had him condemned to forfeiture and execution. The 
provost, it is said, convened the town in arms to prevent 
the execution, and accordingly Huntly carried his victim 
to his own castle of Strathbogie. There, it is said, he left 
him to his lady to deal with, and that lady Elizabeth, 
daughter of Robert, Lord Keith promptly had him 
beheaded. This was in 1550. Sir Walter Scott and 
Skene in his Highlanders of Scotland give a highly 
picturesque account of this incident, but the fact as above 
stated appears to be authentic. Nemesis came to Huntly 
later. He was looked upon as the main champion of the 
Catholic faith. In this character his interests were opposed 
to those of the Queen's brother, James, and when Mary 
conferred upon the latter the northern earldoms, first of 
Mar and then of Moray, Huntly felt compelled to support 
his own interest by force of arms. His grandfather had 
been made hereditary keeper of the castle of Inverness in 
1495, and when Queen Mary went thither in the course of 
the royal progress which she undertook to establish her 
brother in his earldom, she found the gates of the castle 
closed in her face by Huntly's castelan. In the upshot the 
castle was taken and the castelan hanged, and Mary, 
marching eastward through Huntly's country, encountered 
him with her army on the slopes of Corrichie on Deeside. 
The struggle ended disastrously for the Gordons. The 
Earl, a stout and full-blooded man, having been taken 
prisoner, was set upon a horse before his captor, when he 
was suddenly seized with apoplexy and fell to the ground 
His body, produced in Parliament in a mean sack- 
cloth dress, was condemned to forfeiture of titles and estates. 
son, Sir John Gordon, was butchered by a bungling 
xecutioner at the Cross of Aberdeen, while Mary was 
mpelled by her brother to look on at the horrid end of 
man whom, it is said, she had once dearly loved. At 


the same time George, the eldest surviving son, sentenced 
in the barbarous fashion of the time to be hanged, drawn, 
and quartered, only escaped by the special clemency of the 
Queen, who, however, appointed him Chancellor in 1565, 
and reversed the sentence of forfeiture against his house. 

This fifth Earl married Ann Hamilton, daughter of the 
Regent Earl of Arran, herself a descendant of King 
James II., and so established still another connection with 
the royal house of Stewart. 

Amid the feuds between the houses of the north at that 
time a striking incident stands out, and forms the subject 
of a well-known ballad, " Edom o' Gordon." Details of 
this incident and its sequel will be found in the account 
of Clan Forbes on a previous page. 

The rivalry, however, between the houses of Huntly 
and Moray was not over, and at the hands of George 
Gordon, the sixth Earl, it culminated in a deed which has 
left a vivid record in ballad and tradition. The Regent 
Moray's only daughter had married James Stewart, a 
descendant of that Murdoch, Duke of Albany, executed 
by James I. on Stirling heading hill, and in right of his 
wife Stewart had assumed the title of Earl of Moray. 
From his handsome appearance he is remembered as the 
Bonnie Earl o' Moray. Popular tradition, enshrined in 
the ballad, asserts that James VI. was jealous of his 
Queen's admiration for the Bonnie Earl, and that Huntly 
was afforded facilities for accomplishing his family 
revenge. The subject was dealt with by the late Andrew 
Lang in an interesting paper. The upshot was that 
while Moray was staying at his house of Donibristle near 
Culross on the Forth, it was suddenly assailed by Huntly. 
Moray escaped, but as he fled along the shore his long 
yellow hair caught the light of the burning mansion, and 
betrayed him. After he was struck down Huntly reached 
the spot, and being called upon by his followers to take 
an active part in the slaughter, slashed Moray across the 
face; whereupon the latter is said to have exclaimed 
bitterly, " You have spoilt a better face than your own." 
Colour is lent to the popular tradition of the King's 
concern in the act by the circumstance that, eight years 
later, in 1599, Huntly was created Marquess, as well as 
Earl of Enzie, Viscount Inverness, and baron of seven 
other lordships. 

In 1594 Huntly had been accused, along with the 
Earls of Angus and Errol, of conspiring with the King 
of Spain for the restoration of the Roman Catholic 
religion in Scotland. The young Earl of Argyll was 


sent against him with four or five thousand men, but on 
his way towards Strathbogie, on the confines of Glenlivet, 
he was confronted by Huntly and Errol at the head of a 
force of fifteen hundred. Argyll took up a good position 
on the side of Benrinnes, but he proved an indifferent 
leader, and in the end himself carried the tidings of his 
defeat to the king at Dundee. As a result the King 
himself was forced by the Protestant nobles to lead an 
army into the north, where he demolished Errol's castle 
of Slaines, and Huntly's stronghold of Strathbogie, said 
to have been the finest house of the time in Scotland. It 
was not long, however, as we have seen, till Huntly 
received the ample amends of the King. Perhaps one of 
the reasons for the favour shown him was the fact that he 
married Lady Henrietta Stewart, eldest daughter of the 
King's favourite, Esme, Duke of Lennox. 

His son George, second Marquess, was a staunch 
adherent of Charles I. In early life he commanded a 
company of gens d'armes in France, and in 1632, during 
his father's lifetime, was created Viscount Aboyne. He 
refused to subscribe the National Covenant in 1638, and in 
consequence was driven from Strathbogie by the Marquess 
of Montrose, then a general on the Covenant side. For 
two days at that time the Marquess's second son, James, 
held the Bridge of Dee at Aberdeen against Montrose, 
but in the end the latter succeeded by stratagem. He sent 
his cavalry up the river bank, as if to cross at a higher 
point, and the Gordons on their side rode up to oppose 
the crossing. While doing so they were cut to pieces by 
the cannon of Montrose, and as a result the bridge was 
lost and Aberdeen captured by the Covenanters. A 
Covenanting ballad, " Bonnie John Seton," which 
celebrates the occasion, refers curiously to the effect of the 
unaccustomed cannon fire upon the Highlanders of that 

The Highland men are clever men 

At handling sword and gun; 
But yet are they too naked men 

To bear the cannon's rung. 

For the cannon's roar in a summer night 
Is like thunder in the air; 

not a man in Highland dress 
Can face the cannon's rair. 

Huntly was captured and carried to Edinburgh, and 

at, wards outlawed and excommunicated, but, along with 

se, who by this time had taken the King's side, he 


stormed Aberdeen in 1645. After the defeat of Montrose 
at Philiphaugh in that year he raised forces for Charles I. 
in the north, but was captured by Colonel Menzies at 
Delnabo, and though his wife was a sister of the Marquess 
of Argyll, then head of the Scottish Government, he was 
beheaded at Edinburgh by the Covenanters in 1649. 

The Marquess's eldest son, George, Lord Gordon, had 
joined Montrose and fallen at the battle of Alford in 1645, 
and his second son, James, who had inherited his father's 
Viscounty of Aboyne, and had also joined Montrose in the 
interest of Charles I., had fled to France and died of grief 
after the execution of the king in 1649. It was therefore 
the third son, Lewis, who was restored to the family 
honours and estate, as third Marquess, by Charles II., 
during that young monarch's short reign in Scotland 
in 1651. 

It was his only son George who succeeded as fourth 
Marquess in 1653, when he was no more than ten years old. 
After seeing military service with the French under 
Turenne at the battle of Strasbourg and afterwards 
under the Prince of Orange, he was, at the recommen- 
dation of Claverhouse, created Duke of Gordon in 1684. 
James VII. appointed him a Privy Councillor and captain 
of Edinburgh Castle, but at the Revolution in 1689 he 
surrendered the stronghold to the Convention of Estates. 
His wife, a daughter of the Duke of Norfolk, retired to a 
convent in Flanders, whereupon the Duke brought an 
action against her for restitution of conjugal rights. It 
was she who in 1711 sent the Faculty of Advocates a medal 
bearing the head of the Chevalier, with the motto 
" Reddite." 

Naturally her son, Alexander, the second Duke, was 
an ardent Jacobite. During the Rising of 1715, while 
Marquess of Huntly, he joined the forces of the Earl of 
Mar at Perth with two thousand three hundred men, and 
he was present at the battle of Sheriffmuir ; but he received 
pardon and succeeded to the Dukedom in 1716. He was 
on intimate terms with the King of Prussia and with 
Cosmo di Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, after whom 
he named his eldest son, and he received presents from 
Pope Clement XII. 

It was his eldest son, Cosmo George, who was head 
of the house during the critical period of the Jacobite 
Rebellion of 1745. While the Duke himself did not 
join the rising under Prince Charles Edward, his brother, 
Lord Lewis Gordon, did, and led a strong contingent of 
the clansmen in the campaign which ended at Culloden. 


The .mportance 

is commemorated m the JJrf the Duke's brothers, 

Scotland. But he probably remains most famous as the 
of the well-Lawn song " Cauld [KaiMn Aber- 
deen " and by reason of his wife, the Gay Duct 
Gordon," who was the chief figure in Edinburgh society 
aTthe close of the i8th century. A daughter of Maxwell 
of Monreith, she is said to have shown her high spirit as 
i eirl by riding with her sister down the High Street of 
Edinburgh on a sow's back. When the Duke was raising 
his regiments of Gordon Highlanders to take part in the 
American war, she is said to have recruited a battalion m 
a single day by standing at the cross of Aberdeen wit 
the King's shilling between her lips as a prize for everv 
lad bold enough to come and take it. And it was she who, 
when Robert Burns paid his last momentous visit to 
Edinburgh in 1786, set the seal upon his fame by her 
countenance and hospitality. 

A strange contrast to Duke Alexander was his third 
brother, that Lord George Gordon who, beginning life in 
the Navy, and afterwards entering Parliament, acquired 
notoriety as an agitator and leader of the No-Popery Riots 
of 1780, afterwards becoming a Jew, and dying at last in 
Newgate Gaol. 

The fifth Duke, George, a general officer, Governor of 
Edinburgh Castle, and G.C.B., was the last of his line. 
His statue as " The Last Duke of Gordon," erected by his 
Duchess, stands at the cross at Aberdeen. As Marquess of 
Huntly he had a distinguished military career, command- 
ing the regiment now known as the Gordon Highlanders, 
in Spain, Corsica, Ireland, and Holland, where he was 
severely wounded, and commanding a division in the 
Walcheren expedition of 1809. At his death in 1836, the 
dukedom became extinct. Most of the estates, including 
Gordon Castle near Fochabers, passed to his eldest sister, 
Charlotte, wife of the fourth Duke of Richmond, whose 
son, a distinguished statesman, was in 1876 created Duke 
of Gordon. 

In 1836 the Marquessate passed to the late Duke of 


Gordon's kinsman, George, fifth Earl of Aboyne. This 
nobleman was descended from Lord Charles Gordon, 
fourth son of the second Marquess, who, in consideration 
of his loyalty and service, was created Earl of Aboyne 
by Charles II. at the Restoration in 1660. Aboyne Castle 
on Deeside, from which he took his title, had belonged in 
early times to the Bissets, the Knights-Templar, and the 
Earl of Mar, but had been in the possession of the 
Gordons since 1388. A popular ballad, " The Earl of 
Aboyne," appears to refer to some incident of the first 
Earl's time at the Court of the Merry Monarch. It 
describes the Earl's return from London, and the great 
preparations made by his wife to receive him ; but alas ! 
he let slip a word of his too gay goings on with some fair 
damsel in the south. The result is a quarrel, the Earl 
rides away, and the lady's pleadings are sent after him 
in vain. It is only when these are followed by news 
of her death that he turns northward again. 

My nobles a', ye'll turn your steeds 
That that comely face I may see then : 

Frae the horse to the hat a' maun be black, 
And mourn for bonnie Peggy Irvine! 

It was the first Earl who built the present castle of Aboyne. 

The Earl of Aboyne, who succeeded as ninth Marquess 
of Huntly, was K.T. and Colonel of the Aberdeen Militia. 
The present peer, who succeeded in 1863, and who is his 
grandson, is the premier Marquess of Scotland. He was a 
Lord-in- Waiting to Queen Victoria from 1870 to 1873, was 
appointed captain of the Hon. Corps of Gentlemen at 
Arms in 1881, and was thrice chosen Lord Rector of 
Aberdeen University. He is a Privy Councillor and 
LL.D., and personally one of the best-liked personages of 
the north. 

There are of course many branches of the great house 
of Gordon throughout Scotland. Of these the chief is that 
of the Gordons of Haddo, which has for its head the 
Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair. This branch claims 
to represent the original house of Gordon in the male line, 
by descent from Gordon of Coldingknowes, celebrated in 
song. Its remote ancestor was Patrick Gordon of Methlic, 
slain at the battle of Arbroath in 1445. His great-grandson, 
James Gordon of Methlic and Haddo, was a warm 
supporter of his chief, the fifth Earl of Huntly, in Queen 
Mary's interest. His grandson again, Sir John Gordon 
of Haddo, was made a baronet of Nova Scotia by 
Charles I., in whose service he distinguished himself at 


the battle of Turriff. Captured at last by the Covenanters, 
he was confined in a church in Edinburgh, known from 
this fact as " Haddo's Hole," and was executed at the 
Cross of Edinburgh in 1644. His second son, Sir George 
Gordon of Haddo, was President of the Court of Session 
and Lord Chancellor of Scotland, and was made Earl of 
Aberdeen in 1682. George, the fourth Earl, was the 
distinguished statesman who was Queen Victoria's Prime 
Minister at the time of the Crimean War; and the present 
head of the house, who is his grandson, has also held 
many high offices, including those of Governor-General of 
Canada and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. At the end of 
his second tenure of this last high post he had the honour 
of the Marquessate conferred upon him. His Lordship 
was High Commissioner to the General Assembly from 
1 88 1 to 1885, and has been Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeen- 
shire since 1880. For a considerable time his Lordship's 
succession to the Earldom was regarded as uncertain, till 
it was declared proved that his elder brother, George, the 
sixth Earl, had been drowned while voyaging as an 
ordinary seaman from Boston to Melbourne in 1870 

Of all the bearers of the name of Gordon, however, 
perhaps the most romantic and tragic figure is that of 
Charles George Gordon " Chinese Gordon " who, after 
the most amazing and beneficent career of his time in many 
parts of the world, was overwhelmed and slain on the 
steps of the Government House at Khartoum, which he 
had defended alone against a siege by the Dervish hordes 
for three hundred and seventeen days, just as the British 
Expedition sent out too late for his relief came in sight 
fighting its way up the Nile. 



Facing page 142. 



BADGE : Buaidh craobh (laureola) spurge laurel. 
PIBROCH : Blar Auldearn (1645) ; Blar Raonruarai (1689) ; Cumha 
Chlabhers (1689). 

AMONG the ancient names of Scotland there is none that 
can claim a higher antiquity than that of " the gallant 
Grahams." Though the spelling and pronunciation of 
the word Graham is now Saxon, there is every reason to 
believe that its earlier form was Celtic, Graem or Grim 
being said to be the Pictish word for soldier, and to be 
derived from Gruamach or Gramach, " one of stern 
aspect." A legend, recounted by the historians Fordoun, 
Boece, and Buchanan, runs that it was one of the race 
who first, about the year 183, broke through the Roman 
barrier between Forth and Clyde, and that it is from this 
hero that the wall of Antoninus takes its popular name of 
Graeme's Dyke. It is possible, at the same time, that 
the name Graeme's Dyke may be less romantically derived 
from the word " grym " of the ancient Cymric or British 
language, which signifies strength. The Graemes or 
Grahams, however, appear in authentic history at a suffi- 
ciently early period. In 1128 William de Graeme was a 
witness to the charter by which King David founded the 
Abbey of Holyrood. In the following century the chief 
of the house married a daughter of Malise, Earl of Strath- 
earn, and with her received considerable lands in that 
district. From that time the principal seat of the family 
was Kincardine Castle, on the edge of the beautiful Kin- 
cardine Glen, near Auchterarder in Strathearn. This 
Sir Patrick de Graham was one of the Scottish knights 
who in 1296 made the disastrous attempt to relieve the 
castle of Dunbar, held for King John Baliol against the 
English by the famous Countess, Black Agnes. The 
historian Hemingford tells how Sir Patrick, one of the 
noblest and wisest of the Scottish barons, disdained to 
ask for quarter, and fell in such gallant fashion as to 
extort the admiration of the English themselves. The son 
of the marriage with the daughter of the Earl of Strath- 
earn was the famous Sir John the Graeme, hero of the 
Wars of Independence, who rescued Wallace at Queens- 
berry, and was killed in 1298 at the battle of Falkirk, 



where his name is still perpetuated in the district of 
Grahamston. The lament for his death put into the mouth i 
of Wallace by Henry the Minstrel forms one of the finest,! 
passages in the famous poem by that author. 

" Quhen thai him fand, and gud Wallace him saw, 
He lychtyt doun, and hynt him fra thaim aw 
In arrays vp. Behaldand his paill face, 
He kyssyt him, and cryt full oft, ' Allace ! 
My best brothir in warld that euir I had ! 
My afald freynd quhen I was hardest stad ! 
My hop, my heill, thow was in maist honour ! 
My faith, my help, my strenthiast in stour! 
In the was wyt, fredom, and hardines; 
In the was treuth, manheid, and nobilnes; 
In the was rewll, in the was gouernans; 
In the was wertu withoutyn warians; 
In the lawte, in the was gret largnes; 
In the gentrice, in the was stedfastnes. 
Thow was gret caus off wynnyng off Scotland, 
Thocht I began and tuk the wer on hand. 
I wow to God that has the warld in wauld 
Thi dede sail be to Sotheroun full der sauld. 
Martyr thow art for Scotlandis rycht and me; 
I sail the wenge, or ellis tharfor de.' ' 

The grave of this hero in Falkirk kirkyard is still to 
be seen, with table stones of three successive periods above 
it. As an evidence of the honour in which his memory 
was held, it is recalled that, after the second battle of 
Falkirk in 1746, when the Highlanders wished to do 
special honour to one of their opponents, Sir Robert 
Munro, who had fallen, they opened the grave of Sir John 
the Graeme and buried him beside the dust of the hero. 
One great two-handed sword of Sir John the Graeme is 
preserved at Buchanan Castle by the Duke of Montrose; 
another was long in possession of the Grahams of Orchil, 
and is now treasured by the Free Mason Lodge at 

Sir John the Graeme was also owner of the estates of 
Abercorn and of Dundaff on the Carron. The latter, at 
the eastern end of the Kilsyth hills, was once a royal 
forest. It is in this ancient forest, on the lands of Halbert- 
shire, now Herbertshire, that tradition places the incident 
which forms the subject of the famous ballad of " Gil 
Morice," on which John Home founded his still more 
famous 4< Tragedy of Douglas." The Earl's Burn and 
Earl's Hill are said to take their name from the incident, 
and the Earl's son of the ballad may possibly have been a 
scion of the House of Graham. 

By way of contrast to the fame of Sir John the Graham, 


it is recorded that in 1320 Sir Patrick de Graeme was one 
of the five knights who took part with William de Soulis, 
the seneschal, and David de Brechin, the King's nephew, 
in the formidable Soulis conspiracy to overthrow the 
King and place the crown on the head of Lord Soulis as 
a lineal descendant of the daughter of Alexander II. The 
details of the conspiracy are unknown, but Graham, with 
several others brought to the trial, was acquitted, while 
David de Brechin was executed as a traitor, and Soulis 
himself died as a prisoner in Edinburgh Castle. A grim 
memorial of this conspiracy came to light in the nineteenth 
century, when the monument to Sir David Baird was 
being erected on the site of the old castle of the Earls of 
Strathearn near Crieff. Accidentally breaking into a 
vault, the workmen discovered, along with human remains, 
certain gold ornaments and domestic vessels which were 
identified as tragic relics of the Countess of Strathearn, 
through whose confession the plot was revealed, and who 
was sentenced to life-long imprisonment by Bruce. 

Sir David Graham of Kincardine was also owner of the 
estate of Cardross on the Clyde, and exchanged it for 
the lands of Old Montrose in Forfarshire, from which his 
family was in later days to take its title. It was to Cardross 
that Bruce retired in his latter days, and in Cardross Castle 
(caer ros, " the castle on the point ") occurred the scene, 
so touchingly described by John Barbour, when the great 
king bade farewell to his knights, entrusted the Good Lord 
James of Douglas with the carrying of his heart to the 
Holy Land, and peacefully breathed his last. 

Another Sir David Graham, son of the purchaser of 
Old Montrose, was also remarkable for patriotism and 
valour. It was he who, at the approach of the English 
at the battle of Durham in 1346, earnestly besought King 
David II. to order the Scottish cavalry to charge the 
English archers. " Give me," he cried, as these archers 
came nearer and nearer, " Give me but a hundred horse 
and I will scatter them all." Then, even this being refused 
him, the brave baron, followed only by his own vassals, 
rode against the bowmen. But it was too late; the deadly 
shower was already on the way, and the day was lost. 
Graham's horse was shot under him and he himself with 
difficulty escaped, while the King, grievously wounded 
by two arrows, was captured. Graham was one of the 
Scottish barons who afterwards secured the ransom of 
David II. from the English. To secure the King's free- 
dom, Sir David's son, afterwards Sir Patrick Graham, 
was for a time one of the Scottish hostages in England. 
VOL. i. K 


It is of this Sir Patrick Graham that the story is told 
Jn Winton's Chronicle, how, having returned from a visit 
to France, he was challenged by Lord Richard Talbot to 
run a course in a tournament, and was wounded through 
his habergeon. During the supper which followed, an 
English knight asked Graham to run three courses on 
the morrow. " Sir Knight," replied the Scotsman, " if 
you would joust with me I advise you to rise early and 
confess, after which you will soon be delivered." The 
jest proved true, for on the morrow in the first course 
Graham pierced the English knight deep through the 
harness, and he died on the spot. \ 

Sir Patrick Graham was twice married. William, his 
son by his first wife, was his successor, and ancestor of 
the great House of Montrose. For his second wife Sir 
Patrick married Egidia, daughter of Sir John Stewart 
of Ralston, half-brother of King Robert II., and by her 
he had four sons, of whom the eldest, Sir Patrick Graham, 
married Eupheme, Countess of Strathearn, only daughter 
of David, Earl of Strathearn, eldest son of King Robert II., 
by his second marriage with Euphemia Ross. In 
right of his wife, Graham became Earl of Strathearn, and 
also brought himself and his descendants into the great 
struggle, in which the children by King Robert's second 
marriage claimed the crown on the pretext that the King's 
first marriage to Elizabeth Mure of Rowallan had not 
been a lawful one. This Sir Patrick Graham was killed 
in 1413 by Sir John Drummond, and left an only child, 
Malise, also known as Earl of Strathearn. It was he 
whom King James I. deprived of the earldom, on the plea 
that it was a male fief, and made Earl of Menteith instead ; 
and it was this action which moved the Earl's uncle, Sir 
Robert Graham, to renounce his allegiance, and to plot 
and carry out the assassination of the King at Perth. It 
should be remembered, however, that in this plot Earl 
Malise himself seems to have had no share. He lived till 
1492, and left three sons, from the eldest of whom 
descended the Earls of Menteith and Airth, and from the 
second, Sir John Graham of Kilbryde, near Doune, known 
for his valour as " Sir John with the bright sword," the 
Grahams of the Debatable Land, now represented by the 
Grahams of Esk, of Netherby, and of Norton-Conyers, 
and of whom came Sir Richard Graham, Viscount 
Preston, who was twice arrested and twice pardoned for 
the part he played on the side of James VII. during the 
troubles of the Revolution. 

Of this Menteith family came William Graham, Earl 


of Menteith, Chief Justice and President of the Council of 
Scotland in Charles I.'s time, who petitioned that King, 
and had the earldom of Strathearn restored to him, but 
who foolishly proceeded to go about wagging his head and 
hinting significantly of " blood that was redder than the 
King's " and his " cousin Charles on the throne." The 
matter was brought to the notice of Charles by Drummond 
of Hawthornden in his " Considerations to the King," 
and as a result the poor nobleman was forthwith stripped 
of both his earldoms and all his offices, and only after a 
time re-admitted to the Scottish peerage as Earl of Airth. 
After the accession of King James VI. to the English 
throne, the Grahams of the Debatable Land, who by their 
turbulence had been something of a problem to both 
kingdoms, were transported to the north of Ireland, the 
county of Cumberland being taxed to the amount of 
^408 195. gd. sterling for the purpose, and they are still 
among the stoutest of the Ulster men who form the back- 
bone of Irish prosperity at the present hour. It is said 
to have been regarding this transportation that the song 
" Sweet Ennerdale " was written to the pathetic air "1 
will awa* and will not tarry." It is preserved in the 
! Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, and runs as follows : 

" Now fare thee well, sweet Ennerdale, 

Baith kith and countrie, I bid adieu, 
For I maun away, and I may not stay, 
To some uncouth land which I never knew. 

To wear the blue I think it best 

Of all the colours that I see, 
And I'll wear it for the gallant Grahams, 

That are banished from their ain countrie. 

I have no gold, I have no land, 

I have no pearl nor precious stane, 
But I would sell my silken snood, 

To see the gallant Grahams come hame. 

In Wallace days, when they began, 
Sir John the Graham did bear the gree, 

Through all the lands of Scotland wide, 
He was the Lord of the south countrie. 

And so was seen full many a time, 
For the summer flowers did never spring, 

But every Graham in armour bright, 
Would then appear before the king. 

They all were dressed in armour sheen, 

Upon the pleasant banks of Tay, 
Before a king they might be seen, 

These gallant Grahams in array." . 


Much interesting information regarding the later earls 
of Menteith including that last, most pathetic figure of 
all, the Beggar Earl who died under a hedge, and lies 
buried in Bonhill kirkyard is to be found in the writings 
of Mr. R. B. Cunninghame Graham, late of Gartmore, 
now of Ardoch, who is said himself to have grounds for 
making a formal claim to the earldom. 

Meanwhile the main line of the Grahams of Kincardine 
went on. Sir William Graham, son of Sir Patrick, was, 
like his father, twice married. By his first wife, Mariota, 
daughter of Sir John Oliphant of Aberdalgie, he had a son 
whose descendants carried on the Kincardine line; but 
secondly, he also made, like his father, a royal alliance, 
marrying the Princess Mary, second daughter of King 
Robert III. This lady had already been twice married, 
to George, Earl of Angus, and to Sir James Kennedy of 
Dunure, and after Sir William Graham's death she 
married a fourth husband, Sir William Edmonstone of 
Duntreath. By his union with this Princess, Sir William 
Graham became ancestor of the Grahams of Fintry, of 
whom one was the very useful friend to Robert Burns; 
likewise of the Grahams of Claverhouse, the most famous 
of whom was that John Graham, Viscount Dundee, 
immortalised by Sir Walter Scott in the song " Bonnie 
Dundee," who lives in Covenanting annals as the best 
hated of the royal officers, and in the history of his time 
as the brilliant commander of the forces of James VII. in 
Scotland, who fell at the moment of victory at the battle 
of Killiecrankie in 1689. Another of the sons of Sir 
Walter Graham and the Princess Mary was Patrick, 
Bishop of St. Andrews, who prevailed upon Pope Sextus 
V. to declare the Scottish Church completely independent 
of the Archbishop of York, and to erect St. Andrews into 
a bishopric, who was sent back to Scotland as papal legate, 
only to find his efforts at reform raise a storm among the 
Scottish nobles and bishops, who procured his ruin and 
his imprisonment in Loch Leven Castle, where he died 
in 1478. From the same pair were also descended the 
Graemes of Garvock, and the gallant Sir Thomas Graeme, 
the hero of Barossa, who was made Lord Lynedoch in 

Sir William Graham himself was for a time, along 
with others of the first rank and consequence, a hostage 
in England for the great Earl of Douglas who had been 
captured at the battle of Homildon Hill ; and while there 
it is likely that he made the acquaintance of the young 
King James I., then also a prisoner at the English court. 


Facing page 148. 


He was succeeded by his grandson, Patrick Graham of 
Kincardine, who, after acting as one 'of the Lords of the 
Regency following the assassination of James I., was made 
a Lord of Parliament about the year 1445 by the title of 
Lord Graham. William, his son, the second Lord 
Graham, married Lady Ann Douglas, daughter of George, 
fourth Earl of Angus, " the Red Douglas " of James II. 's 
time, who in Scottish tradition is remembered as having 
" put down the Black." The third Lord Graham took part 
in 1488 at the battle of Sauchieburn, in which James III. 
fell. In that battle the King's rearward division was 
commanded by Graham, Earl of Menteith, with Lords 
Erskine and Graham as his lieutenants, and, at a later 
day, in 1504, on account of his gallantry, Lord Graham 
was made Earl of Montrose. Still later, at the battle of 
Flodden in 1513, he led part of the Scottish vanguard 
along with the Earl of Crawford, and fell along with his 
royal master on the disastrous field. By his third wife, 
a daughter of Lord Halyburton, the Earl was the ancestor 
of the Grahams of Inchbraikie, while his eldest son, the 
second Earl, was ancestor, through the youngest of his 
four sons, of the Grahams of Orchil and Killearn. 

The eldest son of the second Earl, Robert, Lord 
Graham, fell at the battle of Pinkie in 1547. He had 
married a daughter of the third Lord Fleming, Great 
Chamberlain of Scotland, and his son John, the third Earl, 
who fought for the Regent Moray at Langside, was 
Chancellor of the Kingdom from 1598 till 1604, and after- 
wards Viceroy of Scotland, James VI. having by that time 
crossed the Border to assume the English crown. 

Lord Graham's eldest son, John, the fourth Earl, 
married the eldest daughter of William, first Earl of 
Cowrie, and sister of the luckless Earl who fell in the 
so-called Cowrie Conspiracy; and the son of the pair, 
James, the fifth Earl, born in 1612, was the most brilliant 
and illustrious of all his race, the Great Marquess of 

The story of this great leader is too well known to 
be repeated here. His succession of victories over the 
armies of the Covenant at Tippermuir, Alford, Aberdeen, 
Inverlochy, and Kilsyth, forms one of the most romantic 
chapters of Scottish history, and his surprise and defeat 
at Philiphaugh, with his later capture in the north of 
Scotland, his vindictive execution at Edinburgh on 2ist 
May, 1650, and his splendid second burial in the Cath 
of St. Giles eleven years later, after the Restoration, have 
ccited interest and sympathy hardly less than that excited 


by the careers and misfortunes of Mary Queen of Scots 
and Prince Charles Edward Stewart. 

The estates and honours of the house were instantly 
restored to the Marquess's son by Charles II. at the 
Restoration. This second Marquess, known as " the 
Good," married a daughter of the second Earl of Morton, 
and his successor espoused a daughter of the Duke of 
Rothes, Chancellor of Scotland. During the Great 
Marquess's campaign, at the instance of his implacable 
enemy, the Marquess of Argyll, the ancient family strong- 
hold of Kincardine Castle was besieged, captured, and 
destroyed. Afterwards, for a time, the family residence 
was Mugdock Castle, near Glasgow, and there was a town 
house in the Dry gate of that city. It was at Mugdock 
that in the days of Charles II., when the Earl of Middle- 
ton was engaged in the proceedings which brought about 
the persecution of the Covenanters, he is said to have 
engaged with his associates in wild bacchanalian revels. 
The stronghold is said to have been acquired by the 
Grahams as early as the twelfth century. But in 1682 the 
third Marquess acquired the extensive estates on Loch 
Lomond side, which had previously belonged to the chiefs 
of Buchanan, and from that time onward Buchanan House 
and its successor, Buchanan Castle, at the mouth of the 
Endrick, have been the chief seats of the family. 

The fourth Marquess acquired the property of the Duke 
of Lennox in 1702, was made a knight of the Garter and 
High Admiral of Scotland in 1705, and Duke of Montrose 
two years later, for his part as Lord President of the 
Council in Scotland in promoting the Union. On the 
accession of George I. in 1714 he became one of His 
Majesty's principal Secretaries of State. 

To William, the second Duke, the Highlands owe the 
repeal of the Act of 1747 which suppressed the use of the 
Highland dress. For this service, performed in 1782, His 
Grace's memory is held in much veneration by the Gael. 
Duncan Ban Macintyre, the famous Gaelic bard, wrote a 
poem on the occasion, and for long the Highlanders 
gratefully drank as a favourite toast, " deoch slainte 
Mhon't-ros." It is interesting to remember that the 
daughter of this peer, Lady Lucy Graham, was married 
to Archibald Stewart, Lord Douglas, the gainer of the 
famous Douglas Cause, in which the House of Lords had 
decided that he was the actual son of Sir James Stewart 
of Grandtully and Lady Jane Douglas, sister of the first 
and last Duke of Douglas. 

The Grahams successfully avoided the troubles of the 


Jacobite risings, though they had some minor difficulties 
with the wild caterans of Clan Gregor, to whose raids 
their estates, lying on the Highland line on Loch Lomond 
side, were exposed. During the Earl of Mar's rebellion 
in 1715, the Government placed a garrison on the Duke's 
property at Dry men, to defend the western passes from 
the Highlands, by Aberfoyle and Balmaha; and a little 
later there are stories of the " bold Rob Roy," whose 
headquarters were at Inversnaid, and who laid claim to 
Craigroyston on the lower slopes of Ben Lomond as his 
patrimony, seizing the Duke's factor, and compelling him 
by successive souzings in the loch to yield up the rents he 
had collected in that neighbourhood. But from the time 
of the Union downward the House of Montrose has been 
one of the most loyal and active in the Government service 
of the country. The third Duke, who succeeded in 1790, 
was a Knight of the Garter, Lord Justice-General of 
Scotland, Lord Lieutenant of the Counties of Stirling and 
Dunbarton, and Chancellor of the University of Glasgow. 
The fourth Duke was a Knight of the Thistle, Lord 
Lieutenant of Stirlingshire, and for a time Postmaster- 
General. The present Duke of Montrose was his third 
son, two elder brothers of the name of James having died 
in 1846 and 1872 respectively. His Grace is the holder 
of some seven titles in the peerage of Scotland and two 
in the peerage of Great Britain. He is hereditary Sheriff 
of Dunbartonshire, General of the Royal Archers of Scot- 
land, and Lord Lieutenant of the county of Stirling. He 
is a Knight of the Thistle and an A.D.C. to the King, 
and has been Lord Clerk Register of Scotland since 1890. 
For a few years he held a commission in the Coldstream 
Guards and the 5th Lancers, and at a later day he was 
commanding officer of the Queen's Own Glasgow 
Yeomanry and the 3rd Argyll and Sutherland High- 
landers. During the South African War he volunteered 
for active service, and, with his battalion, was first on 
garrison duty for twelve months in Ireland, and afterwards, 
in South Africa, commanded the column which constructed 
the block-houses in the north-west of Cape Colony for a 
distance of 370 miles, thus contributing very substantially 
to the means by which the war was finally brought to an 
end. It is interesting to note that by his marriage with 
the daughter of Sir Frederick Graham, Bart., of Netherby, 
in the old Debatable Land, the Duke linked up two of the 
most ancient lines of the House of Graham. 

The heir, again, of the House's honours, the Marquess 
of Graham, has also done distinguished service to his 


country. In early life he went to sea, and very soon 
obtained the certificate of a master mariner. He served 
through the South African War in the Army Service 
Corps, and for his services received the medal and three 
clasps; and, more recently, with the rank of commander, 
he organised the Clyde Division of the Royal Naval 
Volunteer Reserve, which amply proved its worth by 
sending strong contingents upon active service in the 
war of 1914. His lordship married in 1906 Lady Mary 
Douglas Hamilton, only child of the late twelfth Duke of 
Hamilton, and heiress of the island of Arran, which in the 
future is likely to form a notable addition to the family 


Allardice Bontine 

Bantam Bunten 

MacGibbon MacGilvernock 

Macgrkne Menteith 


Facing page 15?. 


BADGE : Giuthas (pimis sylvestris) pine. 
SLOGAN : Stand fast, Craig Elachaidh. 
PIBROCH : Craigelachaidh, 

THERE seems no good reason to doubt that Clan Grant 
was originally of the same ancient royal stock as Clan 
Gregor. It is true that there is a family of the same name 
in England, but it is of a separate and different origin, 
and probably derived its patronymic from the ancient name 
of the river Cam, which was originally the Granta, or from 
the ancient designation of Cambridge, which was the Caer 
Grant of the early Saxons. Early in -the eighteenth 
century, when there seemed some prospect of the pro- 
scription of the name MacGregor being removed, a 
meeting of the MacGregors and the Grants was held in 
Blair Athol, and it was proposed that, in view of their 
ancient relationship, the two clans should adopt a common 
name and acknowledge a single chief. The meeting 
lasted for fourteen days, and, though it finally broke up 
without coming to an agreement, several of the Grants, 
like the Laird of Ballindalloch, showed their loyalty to the 
ancient kinship by adding the MacGregor patronymic to 
their name. According to the tradition of the clan, the 
founder of the Grants was Gregor, second son of Malcolm, 
chief of the MacGregors in the year 1160. It is said he 
took his distinguishing cognomen from the Gaelic 
Grannda, or " ugly," in allusion to the character of his 
features. It is possible, however, that this branch of Clan 
Alpin took its name rather from the country in which it 
settled. In the district of Strathspey is a wide moor 
known as the " griantach," or Plain of the Sun, the 
number of pagan remains scattered over its surface show- 
ing it to have been in early times a chief centre of the 
Beltane or Sun Worship. Residents here would be set 
down by the early monkish writers under the designation 
of " de Griantach " or " de Grant." This latter sug- 
gested origin of the name is supported by the crest of the 
Grant family, which is a Mountain in Flames, an obvious 
allusion to the Baal-teine or Baal-fire of the early pagan 



The first of the name to appear in written records was 
Gregor, Sheriff of Inverness in the reign of Alexander II., 
between 1214 and 1249. It was probably this Gregor 
de Grant who obtained Stratherick through marriage with 
an heiress of the Bisset of Lovat and Aboyne. The son of 
this magnate, by name Laurence or Laurin, who was 
witness to a deed by the Bishop of Moray in 1258, obtained 
wide lands in Strathspey by marrying the heiress of 
Gilbert Comyn of Glencharny ; and the son of Laurin, Sir 
Ian, was a noted supporter of the patriot Wallace. 

It may have been about this time that the incident 
happened which transferred the stronghold, now known 
as Castle Grant in Strathspey, from the ownership of the 
once powerful Comyns to that of the Grants. According 
to tradition a younger son of Grant of Stratherick ran 
away with and married the daughter of his host, the Chief 
of MacGregor. With thirty followers the young couple 
fled to Strathspey and took refuge in the fastness now 
known as Huntly's Cave, a little more than a mile from 
the castle, at that time known as Freuchie. Comyn of 
Freuchie, little liking such a settlement in his immediate 
neighbourhood, tried to dislodge the trespassers, but with- 
out result. Then the MacGregor Chief appeared upon the 
scene with an armed following and demanded his daughter. 
He arrived at night, and was received by his astute son- 
in-law with much respect and hospitality. As the feast 
went on at the mouth of the cavern, Grant so arranged 
the comings and goings of his men in the torchlight and 
among the woods that his father-in-law was impressed 
with what appeared to be the considerable size of his 
following, and, changing his mind with regard to the 
desirability of the match, freely forgave the young couple. 
Forthwith Grant proceeded to turn his father-in-law's 
friendship to account. He told him of the attacks made 
upon him by Comyn of Freuchie, and persuaded him to 
help in a reprisal. Before morning the united forces of 
Grant and MacGregor made an attack on Freuchie, slew 
the Comyn chief, and took possession of the castle. As 
a token and memento of the occurrence, the skull of Comyn 
is carefully preserved at Castle Grant to the present day. 

The castle did not immediately change its name, for in 
a charter under the Great Seal in 1442 Sir Duncan Grant 
is described as " Dominus de eodem et de Freuchie." A 
succeeding chief, Sir Ian, joined the Earls of Huntly and 
Mar with his clan in 1488 in support of James III. against 
his rebellious nobles; so by that time the Grants had 
become a power to be reckoned with. Like most of the 


Highland clans they had their own story of fiery feud and 
bloody raid. One of the chief quarrels in which they 
were engaged remains notable from the fact that it led 
directly to a notorious historical event, the slaughter of 
the Bonnie Earl of Moray at Dunibristle on yth February, 
1592. The trouble began when the Earl of Huntly, Chief 
of the Gordons and of the Catholics of the north, rinding 
himself in danger among the Protestant faction at court, 
retired to his estates and proceeded to erect a castle at 
Ruthven in Badenoch, not far from the Grant country. 
This seemed to the Grants and Clan Chattan to be intended 
to overawe their district, and difficulties arose when the 
members of Clan Chattan, who were Huntly 's vassals, 
refused to fulfil their obligations to furnish the materials 
for the building. About the same time John Grant, the 
Tutor, or trustee, of Ballindalloch, refused certain payments 
to the widow of the late laird, a sister of Gordon of Les- 
more. In the strife which followed a Gordon was slain, 
and as a consequence the Tutor was outlawed and Ballin- 
dalloch was besieged and captured by Huntly. That was 
on 2nd November, 1590. Forthwith the Grants and 
Macintoshes sought the protection of the Earls of Athol 
and Moray. They refused Huntly 's summons to deliver 
up the Tutor, and when surprised at Forres by the sudden 
appearance of Huntly, fled to the Earl of Moray's castle 
of Darnaway. Here another Gordon was shot by one of 
Moray's servants. This bred bad blood between the two 
earls, and later, when the Earl of Bothwell, after an 
attempt on the life of Chancellor Maitland, was said to 
be harboured by Moray in his house of Dunibristle, 
Huntly willingly accepted a commission to attack that 
place. Here again a Gordon was mortally wounded, and, 
on the Earl of Moray fleeing along the shore, he was 
pursued by the brothers of the two slain men, and promptly 
put to death. Among other acts of vengeance Huntly 
sent a force of Lochaber men against the Grants in 
Strathspey, killing eighteen of them, and laying waste the 
lands of Ballindalloch. Afterwards, when the young Earl 
of Argyll was sent to attack Huntly, the Grants took part 
with him at the battle of Glenlivet, and Argyll's defeat 
there was mainly owed to the action of John Grant of 
Gartenbeg, one of Huntly 's vassals, who, as arranged with 
Huntly, retired with his men at the beginning of the 
action, and thus completely broke the centre and left wing 
of Argyll's army. 

The most notable feature in the annals of the clan 
during the first half of tho seventeenth century was the 


career of James Grant of Carron. The determining factor 
in the career of this notable freebooter was an event which 
had happened some seventy years previously. This was 
the murder of John Grant of Ballindalloch by John Roy 
Grant of Carron, a son of John Grant of Glen Moriston, 
at the instigation of the Laird of Grant, who, it is said, 
had conceived a grudge against his kinsman. A feud 
between the Grants of Carron and the Grants of Ballin- 
dalloch was the result. In the course of this feud, at a 
fair at Elgin about the year 1625, one of the Grants of 
Ballindalloch knocked down and wounded Thomas Grant, 
one of the Carron family. The brother of Thomas, James 
Grant of Carron, attacked the assailant and killed him 
on the spot. At the instance of Ballindalloch, James 
Grant was cited to stand trial, and, as he did not appear, 
was outlawed. In vain the Laird of Grant tried to 
reconcile the parties, while James Grant offered money 
compensation, and even the exile of himself. Nothing 
but his blood, however, would satisfy Ballindalloch, and, 
driven to despair, with his life every moment in jeopardy, 
James Grant finally collected a band of broken men from 
all parts of the Highlands, and set up as an independent 
freebooter. His career was that of another Gilderoy, or 
the hero of the famous MacPherson's Rant. Lands were 
wasted by him and men were slain, and Ballindalloch, 
having killed John Grant of Carron, the nephew of the 
freebooter, was himself forced to flee to the North of Scot- 
land. At last, at the end of December, 1630, a party of 
Clan Chattan surprised James Grant at Auchnachayle in 
Strathdon by night, when after receiving eleven wounds 
and seeing four of his party killed, the cateran was taken 
prisoner, sent to Edinburgh for trial, and imprisoned in 
Edinburgh Castle. 

About the same time the famous feud occurred between 
Gordon of Rothiemay and Crichton of Frendraught, which 
ended in the burning of Frendraught, with Lord Aboyne, 
the Marquess of Huntly's son, and several of his friends. 
Rothiemay had been helped in the feud by James Grant, 
and it was said the latter had been in treaty to undertake 
the burning of the mansion. 

On the night of isth October, 1632, the freebooter 
escaped from Edinburgh Castle by descending on the west 
side by means of ropes furnished him by his wife or son, 
and fled to Ireland. Presently, however, it was known 
that he had returned, and Ballindalloch, setting a watch 
upon his wife's house at Carron, almost secured him. The 
freebooter, However, shot the chief assailant, one Patrick 


"Facing page 156. 


MacGregor, and escaped. Presently by a stratagem he 
managed to seize Ballindalloch himself, and kept him for 
twenty days prisoner in a kiln near Elgin. Ballindalloch 
finally escaped by bribing one of his warders, and as a 
result several of James Grant's accomplices were sent to 
Edinburgh and hanged. 

The cateran's final outrage was the surprise and 
slaughter of two other friends of Ballindalloch, who had 
received money to kill him. A few days later Grant and 
four of his associates, finding themselves in straits in 
Strathbogie, entered the house of the common hangman, 
unaware of his profession, and asked for food. The man 
recognised them, and the house was surrounded; but the 
freebooter made a stout defence, killing three of the 
besiegers, and presently, with his brother Robert, effected 
his escape, though his son and two other associates were 
captured, carried to Edinburgh, and executed. This took 
place in the year 1636, and as no more is heard of James 
Grant, it may be presumed that, like Rob Roy Mac- 
Gregor, a century afterwards, he finally died in bed. 

A few years later, on the outbreak of the Civil War, 
when the Marquess of Montrose raised the standard of 
Charles I. in the Highlands, he was joined by James, 
the sixteenth Chief of the Grants, with his clan, who fought 
valiantly in the royal cause. 

Twenty-one years later still, in 1666, occurred a strange 
episode which added a large number of new adherents to 
the " tail " of the Chiefs of Grant. As recorded in a 
famous ballad, the Farquharsons had attacked and slain 
Gordon of Brackly on Deeside. To avenge his death the 
Marquess of Huntly raised his clan and swept up the 
valley. At the same time his ally, the Laird of Grant, now 
a very powerful chief, occupied the upper passes of the 
Dee, and between them they all but destroyed the Farqu- 
harsons. At the end of the day Huntly found two 
hundred Farquaharson orphans on his hands. These he 
carried home and kept in singular fashion. A year after- 
wards Grant was invited to dine with Huntly, and when 
dinner was over, the Marquess proposed to show his guest 
some rare sport. He took him to a balcony overlooking 
the kitchen of the castle. Below they saw the remains of 
the day's victuals heaped in a large trough. At a signal 
from the chief cook a hatch was raised, and there rushed 
into the kitchen like a pack of hounds, yelling, shouting, 
and fighting, a mob of half-naked children, who threw 
themselves upon the scraps and bones, struggling and 
scratching for the base morsels. " These," said Huntly, 


" are the children of the Farquharsons we slew last year." 
The Laird of Grant, however, was a humane man; he 
begged the children from the Marquess, took them to Spey- 
side, and reared them among the people of his own clan, 
where their descendants were known for many a day as 
the Race of the Trough. 

At the Revolution in 1689, Ludovic, the seventeenth 
Chief, took the side of William of Orange, and after the 
fall of Dundee at Killiecrankie, when Colonel Livingstone 
hastened from Inverness to attack the remnants of the 
Jacobite army under Generals Buchan and Cannon, at the 
Haughs of Cromdale in Strathspey, he was joined by 
Grant with 600 men. The defeat of the Jacobites on that 
occasion, and the capture of Ruthven Barracks opposite 
Kingussie, gave the final blow to the cause of King James 
in Scotland. 

Again, during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, there 
were 800 of the clan in arms for the Government, though 
they took no active part against Prince Charles Edward. 
The military strength of the Grants was then estimated at 
850 men. 

In the middle of the eighteenth century Sir Ludovic 
Grant, Bart., married Margaret, daughter of James 
Ogilvie, fifth Earl of Findlater and second Earl of Sea- 
field, and through that alliance his grandson, Sir Lewis 
Alexander Grant, succeeded as fifth Earl of Seafield in 
1811. Meantime Sir Ludovic's son, Sir James Grant, 
had played a distinguished part on Speyside. He it was 
who in 1776, in connection with extensive plans for the 
improvement of the whole region of middle Strathspey, 
founded the village of Grantown, which has since become 
so notable a resort. The same laird in 1793, two months 
after the declaration of war against this country by 
France, raised a regiment of Grant fencibles, whose 
weapons now cover the walls of the entrance hall in 
Castle Grant. 

An unfortunate circumstance in the history of this 
regiment was the mutiny which took place at Dumfries. 
The trouble arose from a suspicion that the regiment, 
which had been raised for service in Scotland only, was 
about to be dispatched overseas. A petty dispute having 
arisen, some of the men were imprisoned, and were 
released by their comrades in open defiance of the officers. 
This constituted a mutiny. In consequence the regiment 
was marched to Musselburgh, where a corporal and three 
privates found guilty of mutiny were condemned to death. 
On i6th July, 1795, the four men were marched to Gullane 


links. There they were made to draw lots, and two of 
them were shot. 

On Sir Lewis Alexander Grant succeeding to the earl- 
dom of Seafield in 1811 he added the Seafield family name 
of Ogilvie to his own patronymic. The earldom had 
originally been granted to James, fourth Earl of Findlater, 
in 1701, in recognition of his distinguished services as 
Solicitor-General, Secretary of State for Scotland, Lord 
Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and High Commissioner 
to the General Assembly, and it has received additional 
lustre from its connection with the ancient Chiefs of 
Grant. 1 

The grandson of the first earl of the name of Grant, 
John Charles, who succeeded as seventh Earl in 1853, 
married the Honourable Caroline Stuart, youngest 
daughter of the eleventh Lord Blantyre. With the 
consent of his son he broke the entail of the Grant 
estates, and that son, Ian Charles, the eighth Earl, 
at his death unmarried, bequeathed these estates to 
his mother. It was the seventh and eighth Earls 
who carried out the vast tree-planting operations in 
Strathspey which have changed the whole climate of the 
region, restoring its ancient forest character, and render- 
ing it the famous health resort it is at the present day. 
Meanwhile no fewer than three earls succeeded to the title 
without possession of the estates. The first of these was 
Lady Seafield's brother-in-law, James, third son of the 
sixth Earl, who was member of Parliament for Elgin and 
Nairn from 1868 to 1874. Francis William, the son of 
this earl, born in 1847, had emigrated in early life to 
New Zealand. At that time the possibility of his succeed- 
ing to the title appeared exceedingly remote. On the 
death of the eighth Earl, the emigrant's father succeeded to 
the title, and the emigrant himself became Viscount 
Reidhaven. He married a daughter of Major George 
Evans of the 47th regiment, and though he succeeded to 
the title of earl in 1888, it made no difference in his 
fortunes, and he died six months later. His son, the next 
holder of the title, was eleventh Earl of Seafield and twenty- 
fourth Chief of Clan Grant. His lordship's home-coming 
to Castle Grant was the occasion of an immense outburst of 
enthusiasm on the part of the clan, and afterwards, 
residing among his people, he and his countess did every- 

1 The first recipient of the title was at the time Lord Deskford, 
second son of George Ogilvie, third Earl of Findlater. It was he 
who, at the Union, when the Scottish Parliament rose for the last 
time, exclaimed, " This is an end of an auld sang! ' 


thing to endear themselves to the holders of their ancient 
and honourable name. 

The Earl died on active service in the Great War, and 
while his daughter succeeded to the Grant estates and the 
title of Seafield, his brother inherited the Barony of 
Strathspey and the chiefship of the clan. Lord Strathspey, 
with his wife, son and daughter, returned to New Zealand 
in 1923. 

The Grant country stretches from Craigellachie above 
Aviemore to another Craigellachie on the Spey near 
Aberlour. It is a country crowded with interesting 
traditions. Many a time the wild bands of warriors have 
gathered on the shores of the little loch of Baladern on its 
southern border, and the slogan of " Stand fast, Craigel- 
lachie ! " has been shouted in many a fierce me'le'e. Even 
as late as 1820, during the general election after the death 
of George III., the members of the clan found occasion to 
show their mettle. Party feeling was running high, and 
a rumour reached Strathspey that the ladies of the Chief's 
house had suffered some affront at Elgin at the instance 
of the rival clan Duff. Next morning there were 900 
Strathspey men, headed by the factor of Seafield, at the 
entrance to the town, and it was only by the greatest tact 
on the part of the authorities that a collision was pre- 
vented. Even to the present day the old clan spirit runs 
strong on Speyside, and the patriotism of the race has 
been shown by the number of men who enlisted to defend 
the honour of their country in the great war of 1914 on the 
plains of France. 






Facing page 160. 


BADGE : Giuthas (pinus sylvestris) pine. 

OF the Siol Alpin, or Race of Alpin, descended from that 
redoubtable but ill-fated King of Scots of the ninth 
century, there are to be counted Clan Gregor, Clan Grant, 
Clan Mackinnon, Clan MacNab, Clan Macfie, Clan 
MacQuarie, and Clan MacAulay. These, therefore, have 
at all times claimed to be the most ancient and most 
honourable of the Highland clans, and have been able 
to make the proud boast " Is rioghal mo dhream " 
Royal is my race. It was unfortunate for the Siol Alpin 
that at no time were all the clans which it comprised 
united under a single chief. Had they been thus united, 
like the great Clan Chattan confederacy, they might have 
achieved a greater place in history, and might have been 
saved many of the disasters which overtook them. 

After the young Chief of the Grants, with the help of 
his father-in-law, the Chief of MacGregor, had established 
his headquarters at Freuchie, now Castle Grant, by the 
slaughter and expulsion of its former owners, the Comyns, 
the race of the Grants put forth more than one virile branch 
to root itself on fair Speyside and elsewhere. Among 
these were the Grants of Ballindalloch, the Grants of 
Rothiemurchus, the Grants of Carron, and the Grants of 
Culcabuck. In the days of James IV., the Laird of Grant 
was Crown Chamberlain of the lordship of Urquhart on 
Loch Ness, which included the district of Glenmoriston. 
In 1509, in the common progress of events, the chamber- 
lainship was converted into a baronial tenure, and the 
barony was granted to John, elder son of the Chief. The 
change, however, instead of aggrandising the family, 
threatened to entail an actual loss of the territory, for 
John died without issue, and the barony, under its new 
tenure, reverted to the Crown. 

A similar, but much more disastrous set-back was that 
which happened about the same time to the ancient family 
of Calder or Cawdor, near Nairn. In the latter case the 
old Thane resigned his whole estates to the Crown, and 
had them conferred anew on his second son John, and 

VOL. i. 161 L 

shortly afterwards John died, leaving an only child, a girl 
Muriel, who ultimately, by marriage, carried the thanedon 
away from the Cawdors, into possession of the Campbells 
its present owners. 

The case of Glenmoriston was not so irretrievable, for 
the barony was acquired by Grant of Ballindalloch. The 
latter in 1548 disposed of it to his kinsman John Grant of 
Culcabuck, who married a daughter of Lord Lovat, and 
John Grant's son Patrick established himself in the district, 
and became the ancestor of the Grants of Glenmoriston 
It is from this Patrick Grant, first of the long line o 
lairds, that the clan takes its distinctive patronymic o 
Mac Phadruick. 

Patrick's son John, the second chief, married a daught 
of Grant of Grant, and built the castle of Glenmoriston, 
from which fact he is known in the tradition of his family 
as Ian nan Caisteal John of the Castle. 

In James VI. 's time Glenmoriston had its own troubles, 
arising from an act which, one would have supposed, 
would have been looked upon by any Scotsman as a 
warrant against oppression. Clan Chattan, it appears, 
had been faithful friends and followers of the Earls of 
Moray, and in particular had been active in avenging 
against the Earl of Huntly, the death of the " Bonnie 
Earl " at Donibristle on the Forth. For these services 
they had received valuable possessions in Pettie and 
Strathnairn. But presently the Bonnie Earl's son becam 
reconciled to Huntly, and married his daughter; then 
thinking he had no more need of Clan Chattan, proceeded 
to take back these gifts. By way of retaliation, in 162 
some 200 gentlemen and 300 followers of the clan too 
arms and proceeded to lay waste the estates of the gras_ 
ing Moray. The latter failed to disperse them, first wit 
three hundred men from Menteith and Balquhidder, an 
afterwards with a body of men raised at Elgin. He th 
went to London and induced James VI. to make hi 
Lieutenant of the North. Returning with new powers 
the Earl issued letters of intercommuning against Clar 
Chattan, prohibiting all persons from harbouring, supply- 
ing, or entertaining members of the clan, under sever 
penalties. Having thus cut off the clansmen's means 
support he proceeded to make terms with them, offerin 
them pardon on condition that they should give a fu 
account of the persons who had sheltered and helped the 
in their attempt. This Clan Chattan basely proceeded 
do, and the individuals who had rendered them hospitalit 
and support were summoned to the Earl's court a 


heavily fined, the fines going into Moray's own pocket. A 
striking account of the proceeding is furnished by Spald- 
ing the historian. He relates how " the principal male- 
factors stood up in judgment, and declared what they had 

I gotten, whether meat, money, clothing, gun, ball, powder, 
lead, sword, dirk, and the like commodities, and also 

< instructed the assize in each particular what they had 
gotten from the persons panelled an uncouth form of 
probation, where the principal malefactor proves against 
the receiptor for his own pardon, and honest men, perhaps 
neither of the Clan Chattan's kin nor blood, punished for 
their good will, ignorant of the laws, and rather receipting 
them more for their evil nor their good. Nevertheless the 
innocent men, under colour of justice, part and part as 
they came in, were soundly fined in great sums as their 

, estates might bear, and some above their estates was fined, 
and every one warded within the tolbooth of Elgin, till the 
last mite was paid." 

Among those who thus suffered was John Grant of 

'iGlenmoriston. The town of Inverness was also mulcted, 
and the provost, Duncan Forbes, and Grant, both went to 

I London to lay the matter before the king. They did this 

^ without success, however, and in the end had to submit 

'to the Earl of Moray's exactions. 

iln the latter half of the seventeenth century, John, the 
sixth Chief of Glenmoriston, married Janet, daughter of 
the celebrated Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, and earned 
the name of Ian na Chreazan by building for himself the 
rock stronghold of Blary. Like Sir Ewen Cameron, his 
father-in-law, he raised his clan for the losing cause of 
James VII. and II., and fought under Viscount Dundee at 
Killiecrankie. The clan was also out under the Earl of 
Mar in the rising for " James VIII. and III." in 1715, 
and as a result of that enterprise the chief suffered 
forfeiture. The estates, however, were restored in 1733. 

Patrick, the ninth chief, who married Henrietta, a 
daughter of Grant of Rothiemurchus, undeterred by the 
misfortune which had overtaken his family on account 
of its previous efforts in the Jacobite cause, raised his 
:lan for Prince Charles in the autumn of 1745. He was 
not in time to see the raising of the Prince's standard at 
Glenfinnan, but he followed hotfoot to Edinburgh, where 
his clansmen formed a welcome reinforcement on the eve 
of the battle of Prestonpans. So eager was he, it is said, 
to inform Charles of the force he had brought to support 
jthe cause, that he did not wait to perform his toilet before 
seeking an interview. Charles is said to have thanked 


him warmly, and then, passing his hand over the rough 
chin of the warrior, to have remarked merrily that he 
could see his ardour was unquestionable since it had not 
even allowed him time to shave. Glenmoriston took 'the 
remark much amiss. Greatly offended, he turned away 
with the remark, " It is not beardless boys that are to win 
your Highness' cause I ' 

This, however, was not the last the Prince was to know 
of Glenmoriston, or the last that Glenmoriston was to 
suffer for the cause of the Prince. When Culloden had 
been fought, and the Jacobite cause had been lost for ever, 
Charles in the darkest hours of his fate, wandering a 
hunted fugitive among the glens and mountains, found a 
shelter with the now famous outlaws, the Seven Men of 
Glenmoriston. Only one of them was a Grant, Black 
Peter, or Patrick, of Craskie, but it was in Grant's 
country, and the seven men, any one of whom could at 
any moment have enriched himself beyond the dreams of 
avarice by betraying the Prince and earning the ^30,000 
set by Government upon his head, proved absolutely 
faithful. These men had seen their own possessions 
destroyed by the Red Soldiers because of the Prince, and 
they had seen seventy of the men of Glenmoriston, who 
had been induced by a false promise of the Butcher Duke 
of Cumberland, at the intercession of the Laird of Grant, to 
march to Inverness and lay down their arms, ruthlessly 
seized and shipped to the colonies as slaves, but they 
treated Charles with Highland hospitality in their caves 
of Coiraghoth and Coirskreaoch, and for that the Seven 
Men of Glenmoriston will have an honourable place for 
ever in Scottish history. 

While the Prince was in hiding in the Braes of Glen- 
moriston, two of the Seven Men, out foraging for 
provisions, met Grant of Glenmoriston himself. The 
chief had had his house burned and his lands pillaged for 
his share in the rising, and he asked the two men if they 
knew what had become of the Prince, who, he heard, had 
passed the Braes of Knoydart. Even to him, however, 
they did not reveal the secret of the royal wanderer's hiding. | 
And when they asked the Prince himself whether he would 
care to see Glenmoriston, Charles said he was so well 
pleased with his present guard that he wanted no other. 

In the first bill of attainder for the punishment of those 
who had taken part in the rebellion the name of Grant 
of Glenmoriston was included, but, probably at the instance 
of Lord President Forbes, it was afterwards omitted, and 
the chief retained his estates. 


Patrick Grant's son and successor, John, held a com- 
mission in the 42nd Highlanders, and highly distinguished 
himself during the brilliant service of that famous regiment 
in India, rising to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He 
died at Glenmoriston in 1801. His elder son died while 
a minor, and was succeeded by his brother James Murray 
Grant. This chief married his cousin Henrietta, daughter 
of Cameron of Glennevis, and in 1821 succeeded to the 
estate of Moy, beside the Culbin Sands in Morayshire, as 
heir of entail to his kinsman Colonel Hugh Grant. 


BADGE : Giuthas (pinus sylvestris) pine. 

SLOGAN : Ard-choille. 

PIBROCH : MacGregor's Salute, and Glen Fruin. 

" DON'T mister me nor Campbell me! My foot is on my 
native heath, and my name is MacGregor ! " These 
words, put into the mouth of the cateran, Rob Roy, by 
Sir Walter Scott, express in a nutshell much of the spirit 
and history of this famous clan. Strangely enough, no 
tribe of the Highlands was more proud of its ancient 
name than the MacGregors, and no tribe had to suffer 
more for bearing that name, or was more cruelly compelled 
to abandon it. " Is Rioghal mo dhream " my race is 
royal was and is the proud boast of the MacGregors, 
and no more bitter fate could be imposed upon them than 
to give up the evidence of that descent. 

The clan traces its ancestry and takes its name from 
Gregor, third son of Alpin, King of Scots in the latter part 
of the eighth century, and from Alpin himself it takes its 
alternative patronymic, Clan Alpin. Doungheal, the 
elder son of Gregor, was the first MacGregor, and handed 
on the name to his descendants, while his brother Guarai 
became the ancestor of the Clan MacQuary. In the early 
feudal centuries the clan possessed a wide stretch of 
territory across the middle Highlands, from Ben Cruachan 
to the neighbourhood of Fortingall in Glen Lyon, and as 
far south as the Pass of Balmaha on Loch Lomondside 
and the chain of lochs which runs eastward to Coilantogle 
ford in Menteith, not far from Callander. Throughout 
all the centuries of Highland history they were notable 
for their deeds of valour. When Alexander II. over- 
threw MacDonald of the Isles and conquered Argyll 
one of the leaders of the royal army was the Mac- 
Gregor chief, as a vassal of the Earl of Ross, and as 
a reward he received a grant of the forfeited estate of 
Glenurchy. A later chief, Malcolm, who lived in the 
days of Robert the Bruce, supported that King and the 
cause of Scottish Independence with the whole might of 
his clan. He was among those who fought stoutly at 
Bannockburn, and afterwards he accompanied Edward 



Facing page 166. 


Bruce in his invasion of Ireland. There, at the siege of 
Dundalk, he was severely wounded, and through that 
circumstance is remembered in the clan story as " am 
Mor' ear bacach " the lame lord. Through that fact 
the MacGregor chiefs might have been expected, like 
others whose fortunes were built upon their support of 
the house of Bruce, to find their prosperity go on like 
a rising tide. But this was not the case. The chiefs 
made the fatal mistake of adhering to the old order of 
things in the security by which they held their lands. 
Like the MacKays in the far north, they scorned the 
" sheepskin tenure " of feudalism, introduced by Malcolm 
Canmore and his sons. Taking their stand on their 
descent from the ancient Celtic kings, they kept to the old 
allodial system of independent ownership, and determined 
still to keep their possessions, as their fathers had done, 
by the coire a glaive, or right of the sword. As a result, 
throughout the feudal centuries, they found themselves 
constantly engaged in brawls over the possession of 
territory for which they could show no title-deeds. Their 
endeavours to hold their own were looked upon as mere 
lawless disturbances of the peace, and again and again 
their more powerful neighbours found it profitable, first to 
stir them up to some warlike deed, then to procure a royal 
warrant for their extermination, and the appropriation of 
their territory. 

Chief among these enemies were the Campbells of 
Loch Awe, who, in the fifteenth century, became Earls 
of Argyll, and the collateral branch of the Campbells who, 
in later days have held the titles of earls and marquesses 
of Breadalbane. A notable incidence of the methods of 
these enemies of the MacGregors occurred in the fifteenth 
century, when Campbell of Loch Awe induced the 
MacNabs of Loch Tayside to pick a quarrel with the 
MacGregor chiefs. The two clans met in a bloody 
battle at Crianlarich, when the MacNabs were defeated 
and all but exterminated. Forthwith Campbell procured 
a commission from the King to punish both of the 
breakers of the peace, with the result that presently 
the MacGregors were forced to procure a cessation of 
hostilities by yielding up to Campbell a considerable 
part of their territory. 

Stories of the clan's escapades in those days make up 
much of the tradition of the Central Highlands. On one 
occasion the MacGregors made a sudden descent upon the 
stronghold on the little island in Loch Dochart. This was 
a fastness deemed all but impregnable by reason of the 


deep water round it; but the MacGregors chose a winter 
day when the loch was frozen, and, sheltering themselves 
from the arrows of the garrison by huge fascines of brush- 
wood which they pushed across the ice in front of them, 
they stormed and took the place. In the gorge of Glen 
Lyon, again, there is a spot known as MacGregor's Leap. 
Here, after a fierce conflict, in which a sept of the Mac- 
Gregors, known as the Maclvers, were all but cut to 
pieces, their chief, fleeing before his enemies, came to 
the narrowest part of the gorge, and by a wild leap from 
rock to rock across the torrent succeeded in making his 

The troubles of the MacGregors came to a climax 
towards the close of the sixteenth century. Driven to 
desperation, and fired with injustice, they were induced 
to perpetrate many wild deeds. In 1588, for example, 
took place the dreadful ceremony in the little kirk of 
Balquhidder, remembered as Clan Alpine's Vow. A few 
days earlier a mysterious body, " the Children of the 
Mist," had surprised the King's forester, Drummond- 
Ernoch, in Glenartney. They had killed him, cut off his 
head, and on their way home along Loch Earnside had 
displayed that head in barbarous fashion on the dinner 
table at Ardvorlich to the sister of the slain man, who 
was Ardvorlich 's wife, by reason of which she had fled 
from the house demented. On the following Sunday the 
MacGregor clansmen gathered in Balquhidder Kirk 
where one after another approached the altar, laid his 
hand on the severed head, and swore himself a partner 
in the dark deed that had placed it there. 

Acts like this were bound to bring upon the clan the 
last extremities of fire and sword. The house which 
profited most by the reprisals was the younger branch of 
the Campbells of Lochow. Already early in the fifteenth 
century Sir Colin Campbell, head of that younger branch, 
had become laird of Glenurchy, formerly a MacGregor 
possession. He had built Kilchurn Castle at the north 
end of Loch Awe, and he and his descendants had built 
or acquired a string of strongholds across the middle 
Highlands, including the castle on Loch Dochart already 
referred to, Edinample on Loch Earn, and Finlarig and 
Balloch, now Taymouth Castle, at the opposite ends of 
Loch Tay. In their heading-pits and on their dule trees 
these lairds of Glenurchy executed " justice " on many 
persons as the king's enemies and their own, and among 
others who suffered publicly on the village green at 
Kenmore was a Chief of MacGregor in Queen Mary's 


























time, Gregor Roy of Glenstrae. Nevertheless, according 
to Tytler, the MacGregors were in the royal army, 
commanded by the young Earl of Argyll, which suffered 
disastrous defeat at the battle of Glenlivat in 1594. 

In 1603, instigated by the Earl of Argyll, Alastair of 
Glenstrae made a descent upon the Colquhouns of Luss, 
fought a pitched battle with them in Glenfruin on Loch 
Lomondside, and defeated them with a loss of 140 men. 
The Colquhouns secured the indignation and sympathy of 
King James VI. by parading before him a long array of 
widows of their clan with the bloody shirts of their hus- 
bands upon poles. As a result, Argyll was commissioned 
by the Privy Council to hunt the " viperous " MacGregors 
with fire and sword till they should be " estirpat and rutit 
out and expellit the hail boundis of our dominionis." 
This Argyll undertook to do, and among other matters 
managed to trap the Chief of MacGregor by persuading 
him to accompany him to the new court of King James 
in England. He promised to conduct MacGregor safely 
into that country and procure his pardon. The first part 
of his promise he performed, but no sooner was the Mac- 
Gregor Chief across the Tweed than he had him arrested 
and carried back to Edinburgh, where he was executed, 
with thirty of his clan. At the same time severe laws 
were made against the clansmen. Any man might kill a 
MacGregor without incurring punishment, and for doing 
so receive a free gift of the MacGregor's whole movable 
goods and gear. The very name MacGregor was pro- 
scribed under pain of death. No MacGregor was allowed 
to carry a weapon, and not more than four of the clan 
were permitted to meet together. The unfortunate clans- 
men, it is said, were even chased with bloodhounds, and 
the spot is still pointed out on Ben Cruachan where the 
last of them to be hunted in this fashion turned and shot 
his pursuer. Among other clans stirred up to attack the 
MacGregors were the Camerons, but, even in its extremity, 
Clan Alpin mustered its force and, reinforced by its 
friends the MacPhersons, marched northward and inflicted 
a signal defeat upon the followers of Lochiel. 

Through all its troubles, however, Clan Gregor 
survived. Among interesting episodes of its history there 
is a wild story of the year 1640, remembered on Speyside. 
A MacGregor, the tradition runs, wooed, won, and carried 
off Isabel, daughter of the Laird of Grant. A member 
of the Robertson clan, whose suit had been favoured by 
the lady's friends, pursued the fugitives with a number of 
his followers. MacGregor took refuge in a barn, and 


with dirk and claymore, and a musket which his wife 
loaded for him, managed to destroy every one of his 
assailants. Then, in the joy of his victory, he took his 
pipes, and on the spot composed and danced the wild air 
still known as the "Reel o' Tulloch." Alas! this 
doughty champion was afterwards shot, and at the sight 
of his bloody head which they fiendishly showed her, the 
poor girl who had fought so bravely to save her lover 
suddenly expired. 

Five years later the MacGregors took the field for 
King Charles I., with the whole strength of their clan 
under Montrose, who promised that the King, when his 
affairs were settled, should redress the grievances of the 
clan. By way of reprisal Cromwell sent one of his forces 
into the fastnesses of Clan Gregor. Loch Katrine, which 
took its name from its owners' character as caterans, was 
still a possession of the Clan, and on the little islet now 
known from Sir Walter Scott's account of it as Ellen's 
Isle, they had placed their women for safety. Not a boat 
was to be found, though several were seen on the island 
shore, and the English officer offered his purse to the 
soldier who should cross and bring one back. Forthwith 
a young soldier plunged in and swam to the island side. 
The exploit seemed easy, and he had indeed laid his hand 
on one of the shallops, when the branches parted, a knife 
in a woman's hand flashed in the air, and the would-be 
ravisher sank in the water dead. 

At the restoration of Charles II. the clan was rewarded 
for its support of the royal cause by having all its rights 
and privileges restored to it; but a generation later, after 
the Revolution, this act of clemency was rescinded by 
William III., and all the old laws against the MacGregors 
were again put in force. It was little wonder, therefore, 
that, when the Rebellion of 1715 in favour of the Stewarts 
broke out, the clan should favour that cause. John 
MacGregor, who was then the Chief, though he had 
adopted the name of Murray, was a Jacobite, but he did 
not take the field, and instead the clan was led by the 
" bold Rob Roy," who belonged to the Dugal Ciar 
branch of the family. At the battle of Sheriffmuir he 
might have decided the day by charging with his men, 
but he prudently waited to see how affairs would turn, 
and in reply to the urgent message of the Earl of Mar, 
imploring him to attack, he answered that if the day could 
not be won without the MacGregors it could not be won 
with them. 

The next Chief, Robert, raised his clan and mortgaged 







' 2 



his whole estate for the cause of Prince Charles Edward 
in 1745, and refused the offer sent him by the Duke of 
Cumberland, that if the MacGregors would lay down their 
arms they should have their name and all their privileges 
restored. When the day was lost at Culloden the clan 
marched from the field with its banners flying, but as a 
result the whole MacGregor country was ravaged by the 
victorious " Butcher Duke," and the Chief was long con- 
fined a prisoner in Edinburgh Castle. 

On the death of this Chief in 1758, the honour fell to 
his brother Evan, an officer in the 4ist regiment, who 
served with much distinction in Germany. The eldest 
son of the latter was John Murray, a lieutenant-colonel in 
the East India Company's service, and Auditor General 
in Bengal. General Murray was created a baronet in 1795, 
and on the removal of the laws affecting his name and 
family, he resumed by royal licence the original surname 
of MacGregor. On that occasion, 826 clansmen of mature 
age subscribed a deed acknowledging him to be Chief, 
and though the honour was disputed by MacGregor of 
Glengyle of the " Sliochd Gregor a Chroie," Rob Roy's 
branch, descended from the twelfth chief who died about 
1413, Sir John and his descendants have been loyally 
recognised as the actual heads of the race. 

This reinstatement took place in 1822. In the same 
year Sir John Murray MacGregor died. His only son 
and successor, Sir Evan MacGregor, was a Major General, 
K.C.B., G.C.H., and Governor General of the Windward 
Isles, and he married a daughter of the fourth Duke of 
Athol. His son, again, Sir John, married the eldest 
daughter and co-heir of Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Master- 
man Hardy, Bart., G.C.B., Governor of Greenwich 
Hospital, who was the famous Captain Hardy of Nelson's 
ship the Victory at the battle of Trafalgar, and through 
this connection several interesting relics of Nelson and 
the Victory are preserved at the present seat of the family. 
Sir John died Lieutenant-Governor of the Virgin Islands, 
and since then, probably through the Hardy connection, the 
Chiefs of MacGregor have followed a naval career. His 
son, Sir Malcolm, was a Rear-Admiral of the British Navy, 
and received the Crimean medal and clasp for Sebastopol, 
as well as the Turkish War medal and the medal of 
the Royal Humane Society. He married Helen, only 
daughter of the ninth Earl of Antrim, and died in 1879. 
His eldest son, the present baronet, Sir Malcolm Mac- 
Gregor of MacGregor, entered the Navy in 1886, attained 
the rank of Commander in 1904, became Assistant to the 



Director of the Naval Ordnance at the Admiralty in 1907, 
and retired with the rank of Captain in 1911. Sir 
Malcolm's sister is the Countess of Mansfield, and his 
grand-aunt was the author of a fragmentary history of the 
Clan prepared at the request of the Clan Gregor Society. 

Edenchip, the present residence of the Chief, stands at 
the eastern end of the Braes of Balquhidder, pretty near 
the centre of the old country of the clan, and it is pleasant 
to think how, after all their fierce trials and troubles of 
the past, the chiefs and members of the clan are now able 
to settle quietly upon their native heath, and to acknow- 
ledge once again the now long respected and always 
honourable name of MacGregor. 

Among many notable members of the clan throughout 
the centuries, MacGregor, Dean of Lismore in the time 
of Mary Queen of Scots, should be mentioned for his 
famous collection of Ossianic and other Gaelic poetry 
known as the Dean of Lismore's Book. Fortingall in 
Glenlyon, where he lived, was also the home of a famous 
race of MacGregor pipers, known as Clann an Sgeulaich. 

































Facing page 172. 


BADGE : Craobh Aitean (juniperis communis) juniper. 
PIBKOCH : Failte nan Guinneach. 

ROUND the coasts of the extreme north of Scotland, and 
notably on the eastern and northern shores, the place- 
names have an interesting tale to tell. These " wicks " 
and " oes " and " dales " speak of the settlements of 
Norse and Danish rovers in days now remote. For some 
five centuries, down to the time of the battle of Largs, in 
1263, that part of the country, along with the Orkneys, the 
Shetlands, and the Hebrides, was, in fact, Norwegian 
territory, and to the present hour the inhabitants, at any 
rate of the coast districts, have probably more Norwegian 
than Scottish blood in their veins. This is not least true 
in the case of the Clan Gunn, whose possessions lay in the 
Kildonan district, about the upper waters of the River 
Helmsdale, where Ben Grainmore towers two thousand 
feet against the sky, and the mountain glens come down 
to the fertile strath of the Helmsdale itself. The soil is 
fertile, the little mountain lochs abound with trout and 
char, and red deer, grouse, ptarmigan, and blackcock have 
always been plentiful on the moors, while grains of gold 
are even yet to be found in the sand and gravel of the 
streams. It was a country to attract the wild Norse rover, 
and round the Pictish towers or castles, of which the ruins 
still remain, many a desperate onslaught must have taken 
place between the older Pictish inhabitants and the Viking 
adventurers before these latter secured possession of the 

Clan Gunn, which had its home here in later centuries, 
took its name and claimed descent from Guinn, second son 
of Olaf the Black, King of Man and the Isles, who died 
in 1237. The Gaelic Guinneach signifies fierce, keen, 
sharp, and is probably an accurate description of the out- 
standing characteristics of the clan. From later chiefs of 
the race are descended septs known in modern times by 
the names of Jamieson, Johnson, Williamson, Anderson, 
Robson, and others, while the Gallies take their name from 
a party of the clan which settled in Ross-shire, and was 



known as the Gall-'aobh, or men from the stranger's 

The territory of the clan lay on the border between the 
country of the Earls of Sutherland and the Earls of Caith- 
ness while to the west of it lay Strathnaver, the territory 
of the Mackays, otherwise Lord Reay's country. With 
all these neighbours the Gunns from time to time had 
feuds and friendships, and some of the episodes which 
occurred between them were among the most romantic 
and desperate in the history of the north. Alike as friends 
and as foes the Gunns appear always to have been held in 
the highest estimation. It is obvious that, at a very 
early date, they had acquired the character of being 
" bonnie fechters." 

Perhaps the most outstanding event in the history of 
the clan was the battle of Alt-no-gaun, fought in the year 
1478. The chief of that time, George Gunn, was then the 
greatest man in the north, there being then no Earl of 
Sutherland to overshadow him. Moreover, he held the 
dignity of Crowner, or coroner, then a high officer of 
justice. In virtue of this office the chief wore as a badge 
a large silver brooch, from which he was known as Fear a 
Bhuaisteach mor. In his time a member of the family of 
Keith, afterwards Earls Marischal, married the heiress of 
the Cheynes of Acrigil, and thus obtained a footing on the 
borders of the Gunn country. The Gunns looked with 
little pleasure upon the appearance of the followers of such 
a powerful family in their neighbourhood, and accordingly 
disagreements and a serious feud sprang up between them. 
With a view to an understanding a meeting was held in 
the chapel of St. Tain, but this aggravated rather than 
diminished the differences between the parties, and, matters 
having come to a head, an arrangement was made to fight 
out the quarrel at an appointed place. Each chief was to 
appear with his relations, a party of not more than twelve 
horse, and the battle was to be fought to the death. 

The place chosen was a remote part of Strathmore, but 
when the Crowner and his eleven champions reached the 
spot they found that the Keiths were double their number, 
having treacherously mounted two men on each horse. 
This action, however, merely enraged the Gunns, who 
hurled themselves into the combat with added fury and 
desperation. Both sides fought till they could fight no 
more, and when the battle was over the Crowner and seven 
of his clan lay dead, while the Keiths were barely able to 
carry their slain and wounded from the field. Of the 
Gunns the five who survived were all sons of the Chief, 


and all wounded. As night fell they sat down by the bank 
of a stream, where Torquil, the one most slightly wounded, 
washed and dressed the injuries of the other four. As they 
talked over the disaster of the day the youngest of them, 
Little Henry, burning to revenge defeat and the treachery 
of the Keiths, and to recover his father's sword, brooch, 
and armour, induced two of his brothers the only two 
still able to fight to go with him in pursuit of the 
victorious party. They came up with the latter at the 
castle of Dalraid. By this time it was night, and through 
the narrow window Henry Gunn and his brothers looked 
in and saw the Keiths drinking ale and relating to their 
hosts, the Sutherlands, the incidents of the day's encounter. 
Little Henry watched his chance, and as the Chief of the 
Keiths raised the tankard to his lips he bent his bow and 
sent an arrow through his heart, at the same time calling 
out " Beannachd na Guinnich do 'n Chai " the Gunn's 
compliment to Keith ! The company inside dashed for 
the door, and as they came out several were killed by the 
Gunns/ who were waiting for them. It was no equal 
match, however, and the Gunns presently retired under 
cover of the darkness, and making for the spot where they 
had left their brother, all five retreated in safety to their 
own country. 

A hundred years later the Chief of the Clan, Alastair 
Gunn, was again a man of much note and power in the 
north. He had married a daughter of the Earl of Suther- 
land, and felt himself entitled to hold his head high among 
the best in Scotland. This, alas ! led to his undoing. 
One day, about the year 1562, marching, with his " tail " 
of followers behind him, along the High Street of 
Aberdeen, he happened to encounter no less a person than 
Queen Mary's half-brother, the Earl of Moray, also with 
his followers. Owing to the condition of the thoroughfares 
at that time it was not less a point of honour than a matter 
of convenience to keep the crown of the causeway. This 
the Earl, by reason of his rank, of course considered 
himself entitled to, but the haughty Chief of the Gunns 
showed no disposition to yield the point. In the upshot 
the Earl by means of one Andrew Munro, entrapped 
Gunn at the Delvines, near Nairn, whence he was carried 
to Inverness, where Moray had him executed " under 
pretence of justice." 

Twenty-three years later, in 1585, the clan found itself 
involved against its neighbours on each side, the Earls of 
Sutherland and Caithness, heads of the most powerful 
houses then in the north. It looked as if the Gunns were 


to be the earthen pipkin crushed between two iron pots, 
yet they seemed no whit dismayed, and managed to hold 
their own in valiant fashion. The two earls planned to 
come upon the Gunns from both sides at once, and, 
" thereby so to compass them that no place of retreat might 
be left unto them." The Gunns took up their position in 
an advantageous spot on the side of Ben Grian. There 
their enemies, seeing them much fewer in number than 
themselves, made the fatal mistake of thinking lightly of 
them. Instead of waiting for the Sutherlands to come up 
and attack simultaneously, the Sinclairs rushed impulsively 
forward. The Gunns waited till their enemies, breathless 
with the steep ascent, were close upon them. Then they 
poured a flight of arrows into them at close quarters, and, 
rushing down the slope, cut down the commander of the 
Sinclairs with 120 of his men. The rest they pursued till 
darkness fell. The Gunns were followed, however, by the 
Earl of Sutherland's force, which pursued them as far west 
as the shores of Lochbroom. There the Gunns were 
brought to an encounter, when they were defeated, their 
captain, George Gunn, being wounded and taken prisoner, 
and thirty-two of the clan being slain. 

Later in the same reign, in 1616, John, Chief of the 
Gunns, suffered for the part he was compelled to play as 
an ally of the Earl of Caithness. The earl, being desirous 
of visiting his displeasure upon a certain William Innes, 
brought pressure upon the Chief of the Gunns to burn the 
corn stacks of Innes's tenants. This, John Gunn long 
refused to do, offering instead to " do his best to slay 
William Innes." The earl, however, continued to insist; 
in the end the corn stacks were burned, thereby no doubt 
inflicting severe hardship upon the people of the district; 
and as a result the Chief of the Gunns was rigorously 
prosecuted and imprisoned in Edinburgh. 

A generation later a notable member of the clan was 
Crowner or Colonel Gunn, a native of Caithness, who, 
like so many other hardy Scots of that time made a place 
and a name for himself in the wars abroad. He appears in 
Scottish history when the Marquess of Montrose, then on 
the Covenanting side, was besieging the Tower of Gight in 
Aberdeenshire. Word reached the Marquess that a 
King's force had landed at Aberdeen, and raising the 
siege he retreated precipitately to Edinburgh. The force 
actually landed, however, was a small one, and the most 
important of its officers was Crowner Gunn. On the 
failure of the cause of Charles I. the Crowner returned to 
Germany, where according to the historian of the house 


of Sutherland he became a major-general in the imperial 
army, and a baron of the empire, marrying " a rich and 
noble lady beside the imperial city of Ulm, upon the 

The early seat of the Chiefs of the Clan was the old 
castle of Hallburg, the name of which sufficiently indicates 
its Danish or Norwegian origin. In its time this strong- 
hold was considered impregnable. In later days the Chiefs 
of the Gunns had their seat at the castle of Kilearnan till 
it was destroyed by fire in 1690. 

Strangely enough, after the long warlike history of the 
clan, the chief means of its dispersion was the introduction 
of the peaceful sheep. In the twenty years between 1811 
and 1831 sheep-raising as a new industry displaced the old 
breeding of black cattle in the Highlands of Scotland. 
To make way for it in this district the notorious Sutherland 
clearances took place. In the former year the population 
of Kildonan parish, which measures some 250 square 
miles, numbered 1,574. To make way for sheep-farming 
most of that population was removed to the neighbouring 
parish of Loth, and in the glens where hundreds of families 
of the name of Gunn had for centuries had their happy 
though humble and too often abjectly poor homes, nothing 
was to be heard but the bleat of the sheep, the call of the 
grouse, and the crow of the blackcock. In 1851 the parish 
of Loth was united to that of Kildonan, and by this means 
the number of the population was more than restored. 
Meanwhile, however, many of the old clan of the Gunns 
had gone out to the world, never to return to the scenes 
of the doughty deeds of their ancestors. 

At the present day the Chiefship of the clan is believed 
to rest with the family of Gunn of Rhives, which is 
descended from the second son of MacSheumais, the fifth 

Among the members of the clan who have attained 
name and fame may be enumerated Barnabas Gunn, 
musical composer, who died organist of Chelsea Hospital 
in 1753; John Gunn, author of an Historical Enquiry 
respecting the Performance of the Harp in the Highlands, 
and other musical works, who flourished at the end of the 
eighteenth century; William Gunn, Episcopal clergyman 
in England and antiquarian writer, who, early in the 
nineteenth century, published extracts from the Vatican 
MSB., an account of the Vatican tapestries, and a tenth- 
century MS. of the Historia Britonum; Daniel Gunn 
(1774-1848), the congregational minister, celebrated for his 
unemotional preaching and his schools at Christchurch, 
VOL. I. M 



Hampshire; and Robert Campbell Gunn, the naturalist 
(1808-1881), who, when superintendent of convict prisons 
in Tasmania, sent home many interesting specimens of 
previously unknown plants and animals. 




























Facing page 178. 



BADGE : Luidh Cheann (octopetala) dryas. 
PIBROCH : Spaidsearachd Chaiptein Mhic Laomainn. 

AMONG the clans of the West Highlands which appear to 
be able to claim actual descent from early Celtic stock, 
Clan Lamont may be considered one of the most assured. 
There is some reason to believe that the Lamont chiefs 
were originally a branch of the great house of O'Neil, 
kings of Ulster in early times. The hand surmounting 
the old Lamont crest is pointed to as being undoubtedly 
the " Red hand of Ulster," and the Lamont motto, " Nee 
parcas nee spernas," is also pointed to as indicating the 
close relationship, while the documents of early times 
which refer to the Chief as " The Great Lamont of 
Cowal " seemed to indicate a relationship with the Ulster 
title of " The Great O'Neil." The name Lamont appears 
to date from the middle of the thirteenth century. One 
feudal charter of that time was granted by " Laumanus 
films Malcolmi, nepos Duncani, films Fearchar," convey- 
ing lands at Kilmun and Lochgilp to Paisley Abbey, while 
another, dated 1295, is by " Malcolmus filius er haeres 
domini quondam Laumani." It is from this Lauman that 
the later chiefs take their name, and are styled Mac- 
Laomainn. Before the date of these charters the chiefs 
are said to have been named Mac'erachar from their early 
ancestor, Farquhar, grandfather of Lauman, who lived 
about the year 1200. In any case, from a very early time 
the Laments appear to have possessed the greater part of 
Cowal, and the ruins of several of their strongholds still 
remain to attest their greatness. 

The beginning of their eclipse may be dated from the 
middle of the fourteenth century. In 1334, when Edward 
Baliol had overrun Scotland, basely acknowledging 
Edward III. of England as his suzerain, and when, as a 
consequence of the battles of Dupplin and Halidon Hill, 
it had looked as if all the labours and victories of Robert 
the Bruce had been in vain, Bruce's young grandson, 
Robert the High Steward, suddenly turned the tables. 
From hiding in Bute he escaped to Dunbarton, raised his 
vassals of Renfrewshire, and stormed the stronghold of 



Dunoon. This was the signal for the Scots to rise, and 
before long Scotland was once more free. Among those 
who helped the High Steward on this occasion, was Sir 
Colin Campbell of Lochow, and when Robert the Steward 
became King Robert II. in 1371, he made Campbell 
hereditary keeper of his royal castle of Dunoon. From 
that day the Campbells used every means to increase their 
footing in Cowal, and before long a feud broke out 
between them and Clan Lament, the ancient possessors of 
the district, which was to end, nearly three centuries later, 
in one of the most tragic incidents of Highland history. 
One of the first episodes of the feud took place in the 
year 1400. The King's court was then at Rothesay 
Castle, and from it, one day, three young lords crossed 
over to hunt at Ardyrie in the Lament country. As a 
sequel to their excursion, they tried to carry off some of 
the young women of Cowal ; at which four sons of the 
Lament Chief came to the rescue and slew the ravishers. 
A garbled account of the incident was carried to the court, 
and as a result, the King confiscated the Lament territory 
in Strath Echaig, and conferred it on the Campbell chief. 
Forty years later another incident occurred in which 
the generosity of the chief of Clan Lament was turned tc 
account by his enemies. Celestine, son of Sir Duncai 
Campbell the Black Knight of Lochow, had died while 
being educated in the Lowlands. It was winter, and b] 
reason of the deep snows, Campbell professed to find it 
impossible to convey the body of his son through the 
mountain passes to Loch Awe. He accordingly asked 
permission from the Lament chief to bury his son in the 
little Lamont kirk at Kilmun on the Holy Loch. Per- 
mission was granted in terms thus translated from the 
Gaelic : " I the Great Lamont of all Cowal do give unto 
thee, Black Knight of Lochow, the grave of flags wherein 
to bury thy son in thy distress." Soon afterwards the 
Campbell chief endowed the burial-place of his son as a 
collegiate church, and from that day to this Kilmun has 
remained the burial-place of the Argylls. In 1472 Colin, 
Earl of Argyll, obtained a charter of further lands about 
Dunoon Castle, including the West Bay and Innellan, and 
the stronghold of Dunoon appears forthwith to have 
become a chief seat of the Argylls. 

Still the Laments appear to have been willing to act the 
friendly part to the Campbells. In 1544, when Henry VIII. 
was seeking to annex Scotland by forcibly obtaining 
possession of the infant Queen Mary, and when, to support 
the enterprise, the Earl of Lennox sailed with an English 


fleet up the Firth of Clyde, the Laments mustered to help 
the Campbells in defending the stronghold of Dunoon. 
On that occasion Lennox landed under cover of the fire 
from his ships, forced the Lamonts and Campbells to 
retreat with much slaughter, burnt Dunoon, and plundered 
its church. 

A pleasant contrast to that episode was the visit of 
Queen Mary herself nineteen years later. The Countess 
of Argyll was the Queen's favourite half-sister, and it is 
narrated how Mary, then twenty-one years of age, on 
July 26th rode from Inveraray and slept at Strone, a 
Lamont seat; how, next morning, she came to Dunoon, 
where she spent two days in hunting, and signed several 
charters; and how on the igth she rode to Toward Castle, 
where she dined with the chief of Clan Lamont, Sir John 
Lamont of In very ne, before ferrying across to Southannan 
at Fairlie, on the Ayrshire coast. On that occasion the 
.Queen may have been entertained with music from the 
famous ancient Celtic harp, which was a treasured posses- 
sion of the Lamonts for several centuries. About the year 
1640 this harp passed by marriage into possession of the 
Robertsons of Lude, and it is described and illustrated in 
Gunn's elaborate work on the music of the Highlands. 

It was a few years after this that an event occurred 
which throws a vivid light upon the chivalric character 
of these old Highland chiefs. The incident took place 
either in 1602 or 1633. The tradition runs that the son of 
a Lamont chief had gone hunting on the shores of Loch 
Awe with the only son of MacGregor of Glenstrae. At 
nightfall the two young men had made their camp in a 
cave, when a quarrel arose between them, and in the 
sudden strife Lamont drew his dirk, and MacGregor fell 
mortally wounded. Pursued by MacGregor's retainers, 
the aggressor fled, and, losing all idea of his way in the 
dark, and at last espying a light, applied for shelter at 
MacGregor's own house of Glenstrae. The old chief was 
stricken with grief when he heard the tale, and guessed it 
was his own son who had been slain. But the Highland 
laws of hospitality were inexorable. " Here this night," 
he said, " you shall be safe "; and when the clansmen 
arrived, demanding vengeance, he protected young 
Lamont from their fury. Then, while it was still darlq, he 
conducted the young man across the hills to Dunderave 
on Loch Fyne, and procured him a boat and oars. 
" Flee," he said, " for your life; in your own country 
we shall pursue you. Save yourself if you can ! ' 

Years afterwards an old man, hunted and desperate, 


came to Toward Castle gate and besought shelter. It was 
MacGregor of Glenstrae, stripped of his lands by the 
rapacious Campbells, and fleeing for his life. Lamont 
had not forgotten him, and he took him in, gave him a 
home for years, and when he died, buried him with all the 
honour due to his rank in the little graveyard about the 
chapel of St. Mary on the farm of Toward-an-Uilt, where 
his resting-place was long pointed out. 

As is well known, the Campbells had been engaged for 
over a century in making themselves masters of the ancient 
lands of Clan Gregor, and it may be that this act of 
hospitality to the old MacGregor chief formed the last 
drop in the cup of the ancient feud which brought 
destruction upon Clan Lamont. 

The story of the final act of the feud was told lately by 
Mr. Henry Lamond, a member of the clan, in the pages 
of the Clan Lamont Journal for 1913. The original 
account is to be found in the charge of high treason and 
oppression brought against the Marquess of Argyll in 1661, 
included in Cobbett's Complete Collection of State Trials, 
vol. v. The author of this account rightly says that, 
while the massacre of the MacDonalds of Glencoe in 1692 
still sends a shudder through the veins of the reader of 
history, not less horror would attend a perusal of the 
Dunoon massacre, were it as generally known. As a 
matter of fact, the massacre of the Laments by the Camp- 
bells at Dunoon was a much more dreadful affair than 
even the massacre of the MacDonalds by the Campbells 
at Glencoe. The incident took place after the defeat of the 
forces of King Charles I. under the Marquess of Montrose 
at Philiphaugh in 1646. By that victory the Marquess of 
Argyll, chief of the Campbells and of the Covenanting 
party in Scotland, became absolute ruler of the kingdom, 
and he forthwith proceeded to use his powers for the 
destruction of three of the clans from whom his family had 
been engaged in seizing lands and power for several 
centuries bygone. First the MacDonalds were stormed 
and massacred in their stronghold of Dunavertie at the 
south end of Kintyre ; then the MacDougals saw their last 
castles of Gylen and Dunolly overthrown and given to the 
flames; and, last of the three, the Lamonts were attacked 
and well-nigh exterminated in their own region of Cowal. 

Sir James Lamont of Inveryne, knight, then chief of 
the Clan, had been educated at Glasgow University, had 
represented Argyllshire in the Scottish Parliament, and 
had been King Charles' commissioner and a friend of the 
Marquess of Montrose. In fairness to Argyll it should be 
















mentioned that the commission to Sir James, given under 
the hand of King Charles I. in March, 1643, authorised 
and ordered him to prosecute a war and levy forces in His 
Majesty's name against those in rebellion, and particularly 
against the Marquess of Argyll, and that, in accordance 
with this commission, Sir James had gathered together 
his friends and followers. But upon the king's surrender 
to the Scottish army at Newcastle, Lament had laid down 
arms and retired peaceably to his own houses of Toward 
and Ascog. The indictment goes on to relate how, after 
the overthrow of Montrose at Philiphaugh, James Camp- 
bell of Ardkinglass, Dugald Campbell of Inverawe, and 
other officers, under the order of the Marquess of Argyll, 
laid siege to these two houses. On the third of June, 
Lamont surrendered upon conditions, signed by seven of 
the Campbell leaders, which granted indemnity to the 
Laments in person and estate, with power to pass freely 
where they pleased. But no sooner were the strongholds 
yielded than the Campbells proceeded to plunder them 
utterly, and to waste the whole estates and possessions of 
the Laments, doing damage to the extent of .50,000 
sterling, and in the course of their operations murdering 
a number of innocent women, whose bodies they left fof 
a prey to ravenous beasts and fowls. While the plunder- 
ing was going on, Sir James and his friends and clansmen 
were kept guarded in the house and yards of Toward, with 
their hands cruelly bound behind their backs in the 
greatest misery. The Campbells next burned Ascog and 
Toward to the ground, threw their prisoners into boats, 
and conveyed them to Dunoon. There they hanged 
thirty-six persons, most of them gentlemen of the name 
of Lamont, upon a growing ash tree behind the church- 
yard. The rest, to the number of over two hundred and 
fifty, they stabbed with dirks and skeans at the ladder foot, 
and cast, many being still living, spurning and wrestling, 
into pits, where they were buried alive. So much did the 
horror of the circumstances impress people's minds, that 
it was said the tree withered and its roots ran blood, till 
the Campbells at last found it necessary to " Houck out 
the root, covering the hole with earth, which was full of 
the said matter like blood." 

Sir James Lamont himself was spared, and, being 
carried to Inveraray, was forced to sign a paper declaring 
that he himself had been in the wrong; and he was after- 
wards kept a close prisoner at Dunstaffnage, where, under 
a threat of being kept in the dungeon " until the marrow 
should rot within his bones," he was forced to sign a deed 


yielding up his estates. He was also made to sign a bond 
for 4,400 merks as payment for his four years' entertain- 
ment in the castle. He was afterwards imprisoned at 
Inisconnell in Loch Awe, and in Stirling Castle, and was 
only liberated when Cromweh overran the country in 


This act of massacre and oppression against Clan 
Lamont formed the chief item upon which Argyll was 
charged after the Restoration, and if it were for nothing 
but this alone, he may be held to have richly deserved his 
fate when his head fell under the knife of the " Maiden." 

The massacre, however, had meanwhile exercised a far- 
reaching effect upon the fortunes of the clan, many of 
whom, harried and driven from their lands, had been 
forced to assume other names, so that to the present hour 
there are many Browns and Blacks and Whites both in 
Cowal and elsewhere, who are of pure Lamont descent. 

The incident of the massacre, terrible as it was, had 
been all but forgotten by everyone except the Laments 
themselves and a few people who took an interest in the 
history of Cowal, till, a few years ago, the Clan Society 
was formed, and set about erecting a monument on the 
spot where so many of the clansmen had suffered a violent 

Sir James Lamont was reinstated in his property in 
1663, but Toward Castle was never rebuilt by the Lamont 
chiefs, and stands a sad ruin yet among its woods. The 
modern Toward Castle was built by Kirkman Findlay, 
the famous East India merchant of Napoleonic times. 
The later seat of the Lamont chiefs was Ardlamont House, 
on the promontory between Tignabruaich and Loch Fyne, 
but following a notorious murder which took place there 
during the occupancy of some English tenants, about the 
beginning of the twentieth century, the estate was sold, 
and the chief of the clan now resides principally at West- 
ward Ho in Devonshire. 

The present Chief, twenty-first of the name, is Major 
John Henry Lamont of Lamont, and he has a record 
behind him of hard fighting in the great Afghan War, in 
which he took part as a lieutenant in command of a troop 
of cavalry in the famous march under Lord Roberts to 
the relief of Kandahar and the crushing defeat of Ayoub 
Khan. Major Lamont is a famous polo player, steeple- 
chase rider, and follower of hounds, and the only regret 
of his clansmen is that he no longer lives upon the acres 
of his ancestors. He is unmarried, and his apparent 
successor in the chiefship is Edward Lewis Lamont, 


Petersham, N.S.W., Australia, a great-grandson of the 
eighteenth chief. He is the eldest son of the late Edward 
Buller Lament of Monidrain, Argyllshire, and grandson 
of the late Captain Norman Lamont, M.P. for Wells, 
Somersetshire, who was second son of the eighteenth chief. 
He is unmarried, but has numerous nephews to support 
the chiefship of the clan. 

The only landed man of the name now in Cowal is Sir 
Norman Lamont, Bart., of Knockdow. His father, the 
first baronet, who died on 2Qth July, 1913, in his eighty- 
sixth year, was the only son of Lieutenant-Colonel 
Alexander Lamont of Knockdow, whom he succeeded as 
laird in 1861. Sir James, who as a young man held a 
commission in the gist Argyllshire Highlanders, was a 
noted big-game hunter in Africa, and had a story of strange 
adventures in Greece, Egypt, and Turkey. In his own 
yachts, the Ginevra and the Diana, he made several 
expeditions to the Polar seas which, though their 
primary object was sport, resulted in some valuable con- 
tributions to geographical and other knowledge. He 
published accounts of his adventures in two racy books, 
Seasons with the Sea-Horses and Yachting in the Arctic 
Seas, and in 1912-3, over the signature " 84," he pub- 
lished a series of ten articles of sporting reminiscences 
which attracted a great deal of attention. He was also 
for a time member of Parliament for Bute, for which also 
his elder surviving son, the present baronet, was member 
from 1905 till 1910. 

Among many other members of the clan who have dis- 
tinguished themselves may be cited David Lamont, D.D., 
who was chaplain to the Prince of Wales in 1785, 
Moderator to the General Assembly in 1782, and appointed 
chaplain in ordinary for Scotland in 1824; also Johann von 
Lamont, the astronomer and magnetician of last century, 
who was Professor of Astronomy in the University of 
Munich, and executed the magnetic surveys of Bavaria, 
France, Spain, North Germany, and Denmark. The 
work of John Lamont, the diarist of the seventeenth 
century, also remains of great value to the Scottish 

The latest evidence of the clan's activities is the Clan 
Lamont Society, instituted a few years ago, which is now 
a flourishing institution in the West of Scotland. Its 
inception in 1895 was largely due to Lieutenant-Colonel 
Lamont, V.D., a descendant of the MacPatrick branch 
of the clan. Colonel Lamont is the author of a brochure 
on the Lamont tartan, which has attracted wide notice 


among students of these things, and is of the deepest 
interest to the clan. 
































BADGE : Rugh (Thalietrumo) Rue. 

AN astonishingly varied array of memories is associated 
with the name of Lindsay in Scottish annals. The family 
has shone alike in letters and in arms, and has a history, 
marked alternately with deep shadows and brilliant lights. 
At the present hour the race is one of the most numerous 
in Scotland, and counts the holders of three earldoms and 
other honours on its roll of fame. 

As with many other of the great houses of Scotland, 
the first ancestor of this family seems to have migrated 
into the country at the time when Malcolm Canmore and 
his sons were setting up a new dynasty supported by a 
feudal system of land tenure. The cautious old Scottish 
chronicler, Andro of Wyntoun, briefly remarks : 

" Out of Englande come the Lyndysay; 
Mair of thame I can nocht say." 

According to the English antiquary, Sir William Dugdale, 
the surname was first assumed by the owners of the manor 
of Lindsai in Essex, but the locality is not now known. 
They are believed to have been derived from the Norman 
house of De Linesay, and to have " come over with the 
Conqueror." There were several considerable families of 
the name in England in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. 

In the Inquest of David, Prince of Cumbria, into the 
possessions of the See of Glasgow before 1124, the name 
of Walter de Lindeseya appears as one of the witnesses, 
and there is charter evidence to show that the chief Scottish 
families of the name are descended from him. 

According to Chalmers, the most famous of the Scottish 
antiquaries (Caledonia, ii. 433), " an English emigrant 
named Lindsay," during the twelfth century, became pos- 
sessor of the lands of Luffenach, now Luffness, in East 
Lothian. He is said tq have possessed all the lands of 
Ercildoune and Locharret, or Lockhart. In the time of 
William the Lion his son, David de Lindsay, possessed 
the estate, and his son again, another David, granted the 
monks of Newbotle freedom from tolls in the port of 



Luffenach. At the same time there were Lindsays, father 
and son, of Crawford in Upper Clydesdale, who were like- 
wise both named David, and were benefactors to the 
monks of Newbotle. The latter of the two appears 
further to have been the David de Lindsay of Brennewell 
who, after 1233, gave the monks of Balmerinoch twenty 
shillings yearly to pray for the soul of Queen Ermingarde, 
who was possibly his relative. This David de Lindsay 
was one of the Scottish knights and prelates who swore 
to uphold the treaty between Alexander II. and Henry of 
England in 1244, when the English king had marched 
north to avenge the overthrow of the Bissets of Aboyne. 
The same David de Lindsay obtained the lands of Gar- 
mylton and Byres in Haddingtonshire from Gilbert the 
Marischal, who had probably obtained them by his 
marriage with Marjory, sister of King Alexander II., in 
1235. His second son, William, was Chamberlain of 
Scotland in the time of Robert the Bruce. 

In 1285 also King Alexander III. granted a charter ro 
Sir John de Lyndsay, who was Great Chamberlain of 
Scotland, to hold the lands of Wauchope in Dumfries- 
shire as a barony. The author of the Lives of the 
Lindsays conjectured this Sir John to have been a younger 
son of Sir David de Lindsay of Luffness, but as the later 
Lindsays of Wauchope claimed to represent the eldest line 
of the race, it is possible that Wauchope was the earliest 
possession of the family in Scotland. It was probably 
this Sir John de Lindesay who, as one of the six great 
barons of the realm, swore to acknowledge the Maid of 
Norway as heir to the Scottish throne, and who in 1289 
was one of the attorneys for the trustees of the deceased 
Alexander III. His son, Sir Philip, took part with 
Edward of England against the Scots in the Wars of 
Succession, invaded Scotland with Percy, and was present 
at the siege of Stirling, but went over to Bruce after 
Bannockburn, and so retained his estate in Wauchope- 
dale. In the Chronicle of Lanercost there is a quaint 
story told of him seeing a vision of St. Cuthbert, and so 
reforming his life. His brother, Sir Simon, was also a 
great man on the English side, and virtual Warden of 
the West Marches. He was a prisoner after Bannock- 
burn, and forfeited by Bruce, but his son, Sir John, got 
a charter of Wauchope from the king in 1321, and was 
probably the Sir John de Lindsay who fell on the Scottish 
side at Neville's Cross in 1346. The twelfth Laird was 
forfeited for Border slaughter in 1494, but parts of the 
lands were regained, and his descendants remained 


Lairds of Wauchope till the end of the seventeenth 

But a chief seat of the Lindsays from an early date 
appears to have been Crawford Castle in Upper Clydes- 
dale. Tower Lindsay, which originally stood on the site, 
was the scene of one of the adventures of William Wallace, 
who, according to Henry the Minstrel, stormed and took 
it from its English garrison, killing fifty of them in the 
assault. As the neighbouring lands took their name of 
Crawford-John from their owner, John, stepson of Baldwin 
de Biggar, in the reign of Malcolm IV., so the present 
parish of Crawford got the name of Crawford-Lindsay 
from its owners, William de Lindsay and his successors, 
who held it for several centuries. It is interesting to note 
that this William de Lindsay, the first known Lord of 
Crawford, married Marjorie, sister of King William the 
Lion. At a later day Robert de Pinkeney, grandson of 
the heiress of the original line of Crawford, claimed the 
Scottish throne as descendant and representative of Mar- 
jorie. On the forfeiture of the Pinkeneys, the Barony of 
Crawford was returned to the Lindsays, being conferred 
by Bruce upon his adherent, Sir Alexander de Lindsay 
of Luffness, a collateral descendant of William, first Lord 
of Crawford above referred to. 

Another royal alliance of that time was the marriage 
of Sir William de Lindsay of Lamberton, also a descend- 
ant of William of Crawford, to Ada, eldest surviving 
sister of King John Baliol. This family, the Lindsays of 
Lamberton, was for a time by far the most important of 
the name, so far as property was concerned. It inherited, 
through an heiress, vast possessions in Lancashire, West- 
morland, Cumberland, and Yorkshire, in addition to the 
" Baronia de Lindesay infra Berwick." It ended with 
Christiania, whose husband Ingelram succeeded as Sire 
de Coucy. Her grandson married Isabella, daughter of 
King Edward III., and was created Earl of Bedford. On 
the death of his eldest daughter Philippa, the Lindsay 
property escheated to the Crown. His younger daughter 
succeeded to Coucy, from which house a great number of 
notable families descend, including that of Henry IV., 
King of France. 

During those centuries the Lindsays of Upper Clydes- 
dale had to hold their own by the power of the sword 
against the frequent raids of the Douglases from Lower 
Clydesdale and the Johnstones and Jardines in Annandale. 
In token of the fact, till a recent time were to be seen the 
stone vaults which formerly served the farmers of Craw- 


ford Moor for secure defence, while several of the hills in 
the neighbourhood, which were the stations of scouts 
and beacon fires, are still known as Watches. Other 
interesting memorials of those early times are the small 
holdings which still exist on the estate. These are of six 
acres each, and formerly had a share also in certain hill 
grazings. They were among the earliest of the small- 
holding experiments in Scotland, others being the king's 
kindly tenancies founded by Robert the Bruce at Loch- 
maben, the lands held since the battle of Bannockburn 
by the freemen of Prestwick and Newton-Ayr, and certain 
settlements near Kilmaurs. 

Among the most famous of the deeds of those early 
Lyndsays of Crawford was the part played by Sir James 
Lyndsay at the battle of Otterburn in 1388. When the 
Scottish knights drove back the English to the spot where 
the brave young Earl of Douglas had fallen, it was he 
who knelt and asked the stricken knight how he fared, 
and received the memorable answer " Dying in my 
armour, as my fathers have done, thank God ! ' And it 
was he who, at Douglas's command, again raised the 
banner of the Bloody Heart, and led the Scots to victory. 
This doughty warrior himself died unmarried. His 
mother was Egidia, sister of King Robert II. 

Already, however, the Lyndsays also held broad lands 
in the North. While the father of the knight just men- 
tioned had married the king's sister, that father's brother, 
Sir Alexander Lyndsay, had married the heiress of 
Glenesk and Edzell. This Sir Alexander of Glenesk 
himself became ancestor of the senior line of the family, 
but in 1365 he resigned to his youngest brother, Sir 
William Lindsay, the Haddingtonshire barony of the 
Byres, and it is from that youngest brother that the famous 
line of the Lindsays of the Byres and the Earls of Lindsay 
of the present day are descended. 

It was Sir Alexander Lindsay of Glenesk who, during 
John of Gaunt's invasion of Scotland, attacked and put 
to the sword the crew of one of the English ships which 
had landed above Queen's Ferry, and his son, Sir David, 
was one of the most famous knights of his time. It was 
he who rode the famous course at the tournament at 
London Bridge in May, 1390. John, Lord Welles, the 
English ambassador, we are told, had at a solemn banquet 
ended a discussion of doughty deeds with the declaration : 
" Let words have no place; if you know not the chivalry 
and valiant deeds of Englishmen, appoint me a day and 
place where you list and you shall have experience." Sir 


David Lindsay accepted the challenge, and Lord Welles 
appointed London Bridge as the place of trial. At the 
first course, though Lord Welles' spear was broken on 
his helmet, Lindsay kept his seat, at which the crowd 
cried out that, contrary to the laws of arms, he was bound 
to his saddle. Upon this he dismounted, mounted again 
without help, and in the third course threw his opponent 
to the ground. Another of Sir David Lindsay's exploits, 
which ended less happily, was the encounter with the 
Highland marauders under Duncan Stewart, son of the 
Wolf of Badenoch, at Gasklune, in which many of the 
gentry of Angus were slain and Sir David himself was 
grievously wounded, and narrowly escaped. Sir David 
married Elizabeth, daughter of King Robert III., and '*n 
1398 was raised to the peerage as Earl of Crawford. 

At this period a daughter of the Lindsays came near 
to becoming a Queen of Scotland. A daughter of Sir 
William Lindsay of Rossie was wooed, won, and forsaken 
by the Duke of Rothesay, eldest son of Robert III., and 
it was in anger for this treatment of his daughter that 
Lindsay himself took part in the plot which sent the 
dissolute young prince to die by starvation at Falkland. 

It was the great-grandson of the hero of the London 
Tournament who was known as the " Tiger " Earl of 
Crawford, or " Earl Beardie." While his father was 
still alive the Tiger had been innocently chosen chief 
justiciar by the monks of Arbroath, but, discovering him 
to be too expensive a protector, they had transferred the 
office to Ogilvie of Inverquharity. Burning at the insult, 
Lindsay raised his men and marched to attack the 
Ogilvies at the Abbey. As the battle was about to begin, 
his father, the old third Earl of Crawford, whose wife 
was an Ogilvie, came galloping between as a peacemaker, 
and was mortally wounded by a soldier who did not know 
his rank. Infuriated by the loss, the Lindsays attacked 
savagely, cut the Ogilvies to pieces, and afterwards utterly 
burned and ravaged their lands. The Tiger Earl had 
married Elizabeth Dunbar of the house of March, and the 
ruthless degradation of that house by James I. made him 
a bitter enemy of the Stewart kings. It was through this 
that Earl Beardie made a bond with the great Earl of 
Douglas and the Earl of Ross that they should take each 
other's part in every quarrel and against every man, the 
king himself not excepted. Douglas could rival the king 
with his army in the south of Scotland, Ross had almost 
royal authority in the north, and the Tiger Earl was 
supreme in Angus, Perth, and Kincardine, The league 


threatened the throne itself, and James II. only managed 
to break it by slaying Douglas with his own hand in 
Stirling Castle. The second signer of the bond, John, 
Lord of the Isles and Earl of Ross, was also finally 
crushed, and ended his days as an old man, penniless, in 
a common lodging-house in Dundee. The house of Lind- 
say was more fortunate. To begin with, the Tiger was 
encountered and defeated by the king's forces under the 
Earl of Huntly near Brechin, and on both sides the 
country was ferociously wasted and burned; but presently 
Crawford appeared before the king in beggar's weeds, 
with feet and head bare, and implored and obtained for- 
giveness. James fulfilled his vow to make the highest 
stone the lowest of the Earl's Castle of Finhaven, by 
going to the top of a turret and throwing to the ground 
a pebble which he found on the battlement there. The 
Tiger Earl died six months later. One of the notable 
memories of Dundee is the marriage, in the family 
mansion of the Earls of Crawford in Nethergate, of Maud, 
the daughter of the Tiger Earl, to Archibald Bell the Cat, 
Earl of Angus. Among others of the name who made a 
notable figure at the time was James Lindsay, Provost of 
Lincluden, who was made Keeper of the Privy Seal after 
the death of James II. 

David, fifth Earl of Crawford, eldest son of the Tiger 
Earl, represented James III. at the betrothal of the infant 
prince, afterwards James IV., to the infant Princess 
Cecilia, daughter of Edward IV. of England, in 1473, 
and was made Duke of Montrose by James III. in May 
1488, being the first, outside the blood royal, to be raised 
to that rank in Scotland. He led his vassals and fought 
along with his relative, Lord Lindsay, at the head of the 
cavalry of Fife and Angus on the side of James when that 
monarch fell at the battle of Sauchieburn. It was he who 
finally transferred the chief landed interest of the family 
from Lanarkshire to the East of Scotland, exchanging the 
Crawford estates in Clydesdale with the Earl of Angus, 
now head of the house of Douglas, for certain lands in 
Angus. At the same time, as titles were attached to 
lands, Crawford reserved a small portion of the Barony of 
Crawford, and a mound near Crawford Castle, supposed 
to have been the seat of the old Barony Court, is pointed 
out as still belonging to the family. The Duke married a 
daughter of the first Lord Hamilton, founder of another 
great house that had risen on the downfall of the Black 
Douglas, and with these powerful allies he managed to 
keep his footing. 


At Flodden the Earl of Crawford led part of the van- 
guard of the Scottish host, and fell with James IV. and 
the flower of the Scottish nobles. During the time of 
confusion after the king's death, the new Earl of Crawford 
was appointed Chief Justiciar of Scotland north of the 
Forth under the regency of Queen Margaret, and he was 
one of those who helped the queen-mother when she 
carried the boy-king, James V., from Stirling to Edin- 
burgh, and declared him of age and the regency of Albany 
at an end. James V. was then only twelve years old. At 
a later day he found it necessary to visit his displeasure 
upon Crawford, whom he deprived of the greater part of 
his estates. 

Ten years later, in 1541, there occurred in the family 
an incident which might have proved still more disastrous. 
David, eighth Earl of Crawford, was seized by his sons, 
Alexander, Master of Crawford, and his brother John, 
who threw him fettered into prison. Indignant at the 
outrage the Earl disinherited the two young men, who 
were outlawed as guilty of " constructive parricide." 
Then, with the approval of the Crown, he settled his 
honours and estates on his cousin and next male heir, Sir 
David Lindsay of Edzell and Glenesk. Sir David accord- 
ingly became ninth Earl of Crawford, but at his death 
he was magnanimous enough to restore the earldom to 
the son of the " Wicked Master" of Crawford, with a 
provision that if the heirs male of the body of this David 
Lindsay should fail, the earldom should return to the heirs 
male of Edzell. Through this provision, upon the death 
of Ludovic, sixteenth Earl of Crawford, the honours 
should have vested in the descendants of Edzell. They 
actually did so in 1848, following the failure of the line 
of Crawford-Lindsay. 

Meanwhile the Earls of Crawford continued to play a 
part in the most notable events of Scottish history. At 
the banquet which followed the marriage of Queen Mary 
and Darnley, while the Earl of Atholl acted as sewer and 
the Earl of Morton as carver, the Earl of Crawford was 
cupbearer; and after the fall of the Queen at Langside, 
the Earl of Crawford was among the Scottish nobles who 
remained faithful to her cause. Eight years later, amid 
the confusion which attended the overthrow of the Earl 
of Morton's regency, the Chancellor, Lord Glamis, was 
slain in a scuffle between his retinue and that of the Earl 
of Crawford; but Crawford did not suffer, and in 1583, 
when James VI. finally threw off the voke of tutelage, 
after the raid of Ruthven, the Earl of Crawford was one 
VOL. i. N 


of the principal nobles who helped him to do so. On the 
other hand, in 1589, after the discomfiture of the Spanish 
Armada, when the Scottish Catholic lords threatened to 
overthrow the Protestant government, the Earl of Craw- 
ford was one of the chief movers, but though he was tried 
and convicted of high treason, and the leaders of the Kirk 
clamoured for his death, he escaped with imprisonment. 

Among the darkest deeds in the family history was the 
barbarous murder by this twelfth Earl of Crawford, in 
James VI. 's time, of his kinsman, Sir Walter Lindsay 
of Balgavie. Lindsay was a Roman Catholic intriguer 
after the Reformation. Forced to flee to Spain, he wrote 
there an Account of the Catholic Religion in Scotland, 
and, after returning to Scotland in 1598, took part in all 
the feuds of the Lindsays, till he met his fate at the hands 
of his Chief in 1605. Even Sir David Lindsay of Edzell, 
however, whose effort to avenge him brought about the 
death of Lord Spynie two years later, was a noted Lord of 
Session and Privy Councillor, like his brother, Lord 
Menmuir, and others of his house. 

This line of Chiefs of the Lindsays came to an end at 
the death of Ludovic, the sixteenth Earl, in 1652. Upon 
this event, under the arrangement made by Sir David 
Lindsay of Edzell, the ninth Earl, when restoring the 
family honours to the son of the " Wicked Master " a 
hundred years previous, the earldom should have reverted 
to the Lindsays of Edzell. But in 1642 Earl Ludovic had 
resigned his titles into the hands of King Charles L, and 
received a new grant of them, with succession to John, 
first Earl of Lindsay, and tenth Lord Lindsay of the 
Byres. Two years later Ludovic, known as the " Loyal 
Earl " from his support of Charles I., in which he took 
part in the plot known as " The Incident," was forfeited 
by the Scottish Parliament, but the act was premature, 
and it was only at his death that the Earldom of Crawford 
actually passed to the house of the Byres. 

These Lindsays of the Byres were descended from Sir 
William Lindsay, youngest son of Sir David Lindsay of 
Crawford, who, as already mentioned, acquired the barony 
of Byres from his elder brother in 1365. Sir William 
was a famous knight, one of the " Enfants de Lindsay " 
of the chronicler Froissart, and knighted the son of St. 
Bridget of Sweden at the Holy Sepulchre. He increased 
his estate by marrying the heiress of Sir William Mure 
of Abercorn, and from his natural son, Andrew of Gar- 
nylton, was descended the famous Sir David Lindsay of 
the Mount, the famous poet and Lyon King of the time 


of King James V. By his poetry, it has been said, the 
Lord Lyon " lashed vice into reformation," and his 
portrait lives in the well-known lines of Sir Walter Scott : 

He was a man of middle age 

In aspect manly, grave, and sage, 

As on king's errand come, 
But in the glances of his eye 
A penetrating, keen, and sly 

Expression found its home 
The flash of that satiric rage 
Which, bursting on the early stage, 
Branded the vices of the age 

And broke the keys of Rome. 

Still is his name of high account, 

And still his verse hath charms, 
Sir David Lyndsay of the Mount, 

Lord Lyon King of Arms. 

Meanwhile Sir William Lindsay's elder son, the second 
Sir William of the Byres, married a daughter of Sir 
William Keith, Marischal of Scotland, and with her got 
the barony and castle of Dunnottar, on the Kincardine 
coast, which he presently exchanged with the Keiths for 
the barony of Struthers, now Crawford Priory in Fife, 
on condition that in time of danger the heir of the Lind- 
says should have refuge and protection at Dunnottar, a 
stronghold then considered impregnable. The Fife estate 
passed out of the family at the death of the heiress of the 
twenty-second Earl, Lady Mary Lindsay Crawford, who 
built the fine mansion which now adorns it. 

Sir William's son, Sir John, was made a Lord of 
Parliament as Lord Lyndsay of the Byres in 1445, and 
it was his son, David, second Lord Lindsay of the Byres, 
who, on the eve of the battle of Sauchieburn in 1488, gave 
King James III. the " great grey horse " which should 
carry him faster into battle or out of it than any in Scot- 
land, and from the back of which the monarch was 
presently thrown with such fatal consequences at Beaton's 
Mill. Lord Lindsay himself brought to the battle a 
thousand horse and three thousand foot, the strength of 
Fife. The second lord was succeeded by his brother, 
1 John, out with the Sword," and he again by his brother 
Patrick. The last-named was in his youth a famous 
" forspekar " or advocate, and the historian Pitscottie 
tells how, when his brother David, the second Lord, was 
put on trial after Sauchieburn, he came to the rescue. At 
first the rough baron banned him when he trod on his 
foot as a signal to avoid giving away his case in court. 


but afterwards, when the young advocate ^ obtained per- 
mission to plead, and won Lord Lindsay's liberty, the 
latter praised his skill and gave him the Mains of Kirk- 
fother for his day's wage. At the same time James IV., 
angered by the young advocate's pleading, fulfilled his 
threat to place him where he should not see his own feet 
for a year, by imprisoning him in Rothesay Castle. 

The fifth Lord Lindsay was one of the four nobles to 
whom the charge of the infant Queen Mary was committed 
in 1542, and Patrick, the sixth Lord, was the fierce 
Reformer and Lord of the Congregation who took part 
in the murder of Rizzio, challenged Bothwell to mortal 
combat at Carberry Hill, and at Lochleven Castle forced 
Queen Mary to give up her crown. The wife of this 
ruffian was Euphemia Douglas, one of " the Seven Fair 
Porches of Lochleven," and it was his grandson, the 
tenth Lord Lindsay of the Byres, who was made Earl of 
Lindsay by Charles I. in 1633, and inheritor of the Earl- 
dom of Crawford by his Chief, Ludovic, the sixteenth 
Earl, in 1642. He was one of the leaders of the Coven- 
anting Party, was successively High Treasurer of Scotland 
and President of the Scottish Parliament, and, taking 
part in the Engagement for the rescue of Charles I., was 
imprisoned by Cromwell in the Tower of London and in 
Windsor Castle till the Restoration in 1660. His son 
William, eighteenth Earl of Crawford, second Earl of 
Lindsay, and eleventh Lord Lindsay of the Byres, an 
ardent Presbyterian, last champion of the Covenant in 
political life, is stvled by Wodrow the historian " the 
great and good Earl " of Crawford, concurred in the Revo- 
lution of 1688, and was appointed President of the Council 
in the following year. His grandson, John, twentieth 
Earl of Crawford, was first commander of the Black 
Watch, then known as Lord Crawford-Lindsay's High- 
landers. At the time of the Jacobite Rebellion he held 
the Lowlands for the Government, while the Duke of 
Cumberland operated in the north ; and after the battle of 
Dettingen he was saluted by George II. with " Here 
comes my champion." He was succeeded by his second 
cousin, representative of a grandson of the first Earl of 
Lindsay, who had been created Viscount Garnock in 1703. 
And with the son of this holder of the family honours, 
George, twentv-second Earl of Crawford, sixth Earl of 
Lindsay, and fifteenth Lord Lindsay of the Byres, in 1808, 
the Lindsay-Crawford line of earls came to an end. 

The estates thereupon devolved upon the Earl's sister, 
Lady Mary Lindsay Crawford, to pass at her death, 


unmarried, in 1833, to the Earl of Glasgow, as descendant 
of the elder daughter of the first Viscount Garnock. At 
the same time, a strange series of contests arose over the 
succession to the various titles. Finally, by a report of 
the House of Lords, it was found that the Earldom of 
Lindsay had passed to the last of the Lindsays of Kirk- 
fother, representative of the younger grandson of the 
famous " forspekar " of James IV. 's time. This indi- 
vidual was a sergeant in the Perthshire militia, and died 
of brain fever acquired in studying to fit himself for his 
high rank before his claim was proved. It was not till 
1878, when other two earls de jure had passed away, that 
the claim to be tenth Earl of Lindsay, ninth Viscount 
Garnock, and nineteenth Lord Lindsay of the Byres was 
established by Sir John Trotter Bethune Lindsay, Bart., 
of Kilconquhar, as direct representative of William, 
younger son of the " forspekar," and it is this peer's son 
who is now holder of these titles. 

Meanwhile, on the death of the twenty-second Earl of 
Crawford in 1808, a claim to be Chief of the Lindsays 
and Earl of Crawford had been made by an Irish peasant, 
which gave rise to one of the most notorious peerage cases 
in Scottish history. As an upshot of the case, the claimant 
was sent to Botany Bay, and though on his return he 
renewed his attempt, the claim finally fell to the ground. 

Previously, on the death of Ludovic, sixteenth Earl of 
Crawford, in 1652, the actual Chiefship of the Lindsays, 
which could not, like the title, be transferred by deed to 
a junior branch, passed to George, third Lord Spynie, 
grandson of Sir Alexander Lindsay, fourth son of the 
tenth Earl of Crawford. The first Lord Spynie, who had 
been made a peer of Parliament by King James VI., and 
had been vice-chamberlain to the king, after being tried 
and acquitted on a charge of harbouring the Earl of 
Bothwell, was slain " by a pitiful mistake " in a brawl 
in his own house in 1607, by Sir David Lindsay of Edzell, 
eldest son of the ninth Earl of Crawford. In 1672, 
George, third Lord Spynie, died without issue, and John 
Lindsay of Edzell thereupon became Chief, as great-great- 
grandson and lineal descendant of Sir David Lindsay, 
eldest son of that Sir David Lindsay of Edzell who in 
1542 became ninth Earl of Crawford by reason of the 
misdeeds of " the Wicked Master," but afterwards 
re-transferred the title to "the Wicked Master's" son. 
John Lindsay made a claim to the Earldom of Crawford, 
both upon the terms on which his ancestor the ninth Earl 
had re-transferred the title, and upon the ground that he 


was next heir-male of the original creation, but he did 
not succeed in upsetting the transference of the Earldom 
by Earl Ludovic to the Earl of Lindsay. His own male 
line ended in the person of his grandson in 1744, and the 
Chiefship of the Lindsays then devolved upon the 
descendant of John Lindsay, second son of the ninth 

This John Lindsay, Lord Menmuir, was a very eminent 
lawyer who held several high State offices, and was one 
of the eight Magnates Scotiae who were made Governors 
of the Kingdom in the boyhood of James VI., and were 
known as " Octavians." He acquired the estate of Bal- 
carres in 1591. His second son, Sir David, who suc- 
ceeded, was made Lord Lindsay of Balcarres in 1633, and 
his son, again, was created Earl of Balcarres in 1661. 
It was his widow who married the Covenanting Earl of 
Argyll, and his daughter who in 1681 helped that Earl to 
escape from Edinburgh Castle by taking him out as a 
page holding up her train. Colin, the third Earl of 
Balcarres was an ardent Jacobite, spent ten years in exile 
after the Revolution, and, taking part in Mar's Rebellion 
in 1715, only escaped by the friendship of the Duke of 
Marlborough. It was his great-grandson, James, the 
seventh Earl of Balcarres, who had his claim to the Earldom 
of Crawford confirmed by the House of Lords in 1848, and 
thus united again the ancient title and the Chiefship of 
the Lindsay race. 

The present Earl of Crawford is the twenty-seventh 
Lindsay who has held the title. His grandfather, the 
twenty-fifth Earl, was a noted traveller and collector of 
books, author of The Lives of the Lindsays and other 
works ; his father, the twenty-sixth Earl, was distinguished 
as an astronomer, bibliophil, and philatelist; and he him- 
self is the author of works on Donatello and Italian 
sculpture. After a distinguished career at Oxford, he 
was Member of Parliament for the Chorley Division of 
Lancashire from 1895 till 1913, when he succeeded to the 
title. He was a Junior Lord of the Treasury and Chief 
Whip in the last Unionist Government, and is a Trustee 
of the National Portrait Gallery and Honorary Secretary 
of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. 
In the great war with the Central Powers, he showed his 
patriotism by enlisting as a private in the R.A.M.C., and 
acting as a stretcher-bearer at the front. He afterwards 
held high office in the Government. While he holds the 
premier Earldom of Scotland, it is probable that, if 
precedence were determined by length of service in Par- 


liament, he would also be premier peer of the Empire, 
for his predecessors and he have sat in every Parliament, 
either Scottish or British, since 1 147. 

Throughout the centuries the Lindsays have been 
famous in many fields. Sir David Lyndsay, the Lyon 
King and poet of the Reformation, has already been 
mentioned. His fame is rivalled by that of Robert 
Lindsay of Pitscottie, whose History of Scotland is one 
of our most valuable national documents, and by that of 
Lady Anne Lindsay, eldest daughter of the fifth Earl of 
Balcarres, whose song, " Auld Robin Gray," is one of the 
finest and most favourite of Scottish ballads. Among 
famous Scottish divines, too, were David Lindsay, 
minister of Leith, who accompanied James VI. to Denmark 
to bring home his bride in 1589, and became Bishop of 
Ross in 1600; Patrick Lyndsay, Archbishop of Glasgow, 
who supported the Episcopal schemes of the same king, 
and was deposed by the revolutionary General Assembly 
of 1638 ; and David Lindsay, Bishop of Edinburgh, who 
crowned Charles I. at Holyrood in 1633, and whose intro- 
duction of the liturgy in St. Giles' Cathedral brought 
about a tumult which directly helped towards the over- 
throw of that monarch. Among more recent divines have 
been William Lindsay, D.D., the United Presbyterian 
professor and author, who died in 1866, and the late Rev. 
Thomas M. Lindsay, LL.D., D.D., Principal of the 
U.F. College, Glasgow, and historian of the Refor- 
mation. And not less famous in yet another field was 
James Bowman Lindsay, the Forfarshire weaver, elec- 
trician, and philologist, whose patent of a wireless system 
of telegraphy in 1854 foreshadowed and probably 
suggested the successful Marconi system of the present 

To-day the Clan Lindsay Society is one of the largest 
and most influential of the bodies which perpetuate the 
traditions of their name in the past, and utilise the spirit 
of race and patriotism for benevolent purposes in the 
present. A notable and popular member is Sir John 
Lindsay, Town Clerk of Glasgow. 



BADGE : Conasg (ulex Europaeus) whin or furze. 

SLOGAN : In the north, Druim-an-deur; in the south, Lesteric lowe ! 

LITTLE indeed is known of the Logans as a Highland 
clan, but that little is tragic enough so tragic as to have 
brought about the change of the name Druim-na-clavan, 
the height on which the stronghold of the chiefs was built, 
to Druim-an-deur, the " Ridge of Tears." The estate, 
now known as Druim-deur-fait, in Eilan-dhu, the Black 
Isle, in Ross-shire, was still, in the middle of last century, 
in possession of the representative of the family, Robert 
Logan, a banker in London. 

The word Logan, Laggan, or Logic, in the Celtic 
tongue signifies a hollow place, plain, or meadow, encircled 
by rising grounds. As a place-name it is common 
throughout Scotland. Logie is the name of parishes in 
Clackmannan and the north-east of Fife, while Logie- 
Easter is a parish in Ross and Cromarty, Logan Water is 
the old name of the Glencross Burn in the Pentlands, and 
Port-Logan is a village in the south of Wigtonshire. 

The original seat of the Logans in the north seems to 
have been Druimanairig in Wester Ross. Early in the 
fourteenth century, however, the original line of the chiefs 
ended in an heiress, Colan Logan, who married Eachan 
Beirach, a son of the Baron of Kintail, and carried the 
estates into his possession. Eachan took his wife's name, 
and, dying at Eddyrachillis about the year 1350, left a son, 
Eanruig, from whom descended the Sliochd Harich, who 
continued the race in the island of Harris. 

But the chiefship could not pass through a female, and 
the new head of the clan, having moved into Easter Ross, 
settled at Druim-na-clavan, already mentioned, in the 
Black Isle. This chief, known as Gilliegorm, the " Blue 
Lad," from his dark complexion, was a famous fighting 
man. He married a relative of Hugh Eraser, who at that 
time had attained a footing in the Aird, and became 
ancestor of the Lords Lovat. Between the two a dispute 
arose, which Gilliegorm prepared to settle by force of 
arms. Eraser, however, obtained the help of twenty-four 
gentlemen of his name from the south, and with a 



pacing page 200. 


force, including the MacRaes in the district of Aird, and 
others, marched to the attack. The two parties met on the 
Muir above Kessock ferry, and there, in a bloody battle, 
Gilliegorm and most of his men were slain. 

It was as a result of this battle that the name of Druim- 
na-clavan, the seat of the chief, was changed to Druim-an- 
deur, the Druimdeurfait of the present day. 

Among the plunder of Logan's lands which Fraser 
carried off was the wife of Gilliegorm himself. She was 
about to become a mother, and it was determined that if 
the child proved a male it should be maimed or destroyed, 
to prevent it revenging its father's death. The child, 
which proved a boy, was, either by accident or intention, 
a humpback, and from the fact received the name of 
" Crotach." He was educated by the monks of Beauly, 
became a priest, and travelling through the Highlands, 
founded the churches of Kilmore in Skye and Kilichrinan 
in Glenelg. Following the old fashion of the Culdee 
clergy he married, and among several children, left one 
known as Gillie Fhinan, the servant of St. Finan, whose 
descendants are the MacGhillie Fhinans, Mac-' illie '-inans, 
or MacLennans of the present day. 

The separate line of the Logan chiefs was, however, 
continued, and, though shorn of most of their consequence 
by the battle at Kessock and the alienation of their original 
possessions through Colan Logan the heiress, maintained 
themselves in high respect by means of farming and 
commercial pursuits to modern times. 

It has been supposed that, like the Frasers, the 
Chisholms, the Gordons, and other clans, the Logans of 
Ross-shire were originally a branch of a family of the 
same name in the south of Scotland. This seems the more 
likely as the Highlanders were not in the habit of adopting 
a place-name as a family designation, and Logan is 
distinctly a place-name. If the conjecture be correct it 
brings into relationship with the clan some highly interest- 
ing personages of Scottish history. 

According <x> Guillim, the writer on English heraldry, 
the first of the name to obtain a footing in Scotland was 
a certain John Logan of the house of Idbury in Oxford- 
shire. On the defeat of the Scottish force under Edward 
Bruce at Dundalk in Ireland in 1316, this individual, he 
says, captured Sir Alan Stewart, who, by way of ransom, 
gave him his daughter and certain lands in Scotland, 
and from this union came the Logans of this country. 
Unfortunately for this theory, however, there is docu- 
mentary evidence of the existence of a family of the name 


in Scotland a century and a half before that time. 
Robertus de Logan appears frequently as a witness to 
royal grants during the reign of William the Lion, 
between 1165 and 1214. 

Among the signatures to the Ragman Roll, the bond 
of fealty exacted from the Scottish notables by Edward I. 
in 1296, appear the names of Walter, Andrew, Thurbrand, 
John, and Philip de Logan, and among those whose 
doubtful allegiance the same monarch disposed of by 
despatching them to his wars in Guienne was Alan Logan, 
a knight, " manu et consilio promptus." 

Also, ten years later, among the Scottish prisoners who 
were hanged at Durham by the same crafty monarch in 
presence of his son Edward of Carnarvon, was Dominus 
Walter Logan. 

During the reign of Robert the Bruce, the barony of 
Restalrig, on which the town of Leith is built, passed by 
marriage into possession of the Logans, and soon after- 
wards occurred the most heroic episode which stands to 
their name. Sir Robert and Sir Walter Logan were two 
of the knights who accompanied the Good Sir James of 
Douglas in his expedition to bury the heart of King 
Robert the Bruce in the Holy Sepulchre. On the plain 
of Granada, when the little body of Scottish knights 
found itself hemmed round by Moorish spears, and 
Douglas, throwing his master's heart far into the press, 
rode after it and fell, Sir Walter and Sir Robert fell with 

During the reign of Bruce's son, David II., in 1164-5, 
Henry Logan obtained a safe-conduct to pass with six 
companions through England to Flanders and return; 
and others of the name procured similar passports for 
various purposes in the following years. 

The great man of the family appears to have been Sir 
Robert Logan of Restalrig, who, a few years after this, 
married a daughter of King Robert II. by his second 
wife, Euphemia Ross. He it was who in 1398 granted 
to Edinburgh a charter giving liberty to enlarge and build 
the harbour of Leith, with permission to the ships 
frequenting it to lay their anchors and cables on his 
ground. He also made over the ways and roads thither 
through the barony of Restalrig "to be holden as freely 
as any other ^King's street within the kingdom is holden 
of the King." " And gif any of his successors quarrel 
their libertyes, he obliges him and them in a penalty of 
two hundred pound sterling to the Burgesses for dammadge 
and skaith, and in a hundred pound sterling to the kirk 


of St. Andreus, before the entry of the plea." Fifteen 
years later he gave a further grant of land on which to 
build a free quay. Still later, in 1430, probably feeling 
age creep upon him, and the necessity of providing for a 
future state, Sir Robert founded the preceptory of St. 
Anthony, the ruin of which is still to be seen overlooking 
Holyrood, on the steep side of Arthur's Seat. 

Sir Robert was one of the great men of his time. 
Besides Restalrig, he owned an estate in Berwickshire 
with the wild sea eyrie of Fastcastle for its stronghold, 
held the barony of Abernethy in Strathspey, and lands 
in the counties of Ayr, Renfrew, Perth, and Aberdeen. 

Some of the lairds of Restalrig were sheriffs of the 
county and some provosts of Edinburgh, but in those times 
it was no advantage to be the owner of property so near 
to a great city as Restalrig was to Edinburgh. Encroach- 
ments and quarrels took place between the retainers of the 
Logans and the city burgesses; fighting even took place 
on the streets of the capital ; and one of the lairds was 
actually thrown into the Tolbooth on the charge of being 
" a turbulent and implacable neighbour," who had put 
certain indignities upon the townsmen. At length the 
Cowrie conspiracy afforded the citizens an opportunity of 
getting rid altogether of their restraining neighbour and 
superior. Whether the Gowrie conspiracy was a plot of 
the Earl of Gowrie against James VI., or of James VI. 
against the Earl of Gowrie, remains to the present day a 
debated question, but whatever were the facts the upshot 
provided James with satisfaction for his old grudge against 
Cowrie's father for the Raid of Ruthven, and with ample 
forfeited estates wherewith to satisfy certain grasping 
favourites. That strange and mad affair took place in the 
year 1600. Sir Robert Logan, the laird of Restalrig of 
the time, was a dissolute, extravagant, and desperate 
character. In 1596 he had been forced to part with his 
estate of Nether Gogar to Andrew Logan of Coalfield; in 
1602 his lands of Fastcastle went to Archibald Douglas; 
in 1604 his barony of Restalrig itself was disposed of to 
Lord Balmerino; and in 1605 his lands of Quarrel-holes 
were sold to another unknown purchaser. In 1606 he died. 
Two years later one George Sprot, a notary public, 
produced some letters from Logan to the Earl of Gowrie, 
his brother Alexander Ruthven, and others, from which 
it appeared that Logan had been deeply concerned in the 
plot. The letters mention meetings of the conspirators 
at Restalrig and Fastcastle, and suggest that the plan was 
to convey the king by sea to the latter stronghold, where, 


said Logan, " I have kept my Lord Bothwell in his 
greatest extremities, say the king and his Council what 
they would." On the strength of these letters Logan's 
body was exhumed and brought into court to be tried for 
treason. At the trial Sprot recanted from his first 
testimony that the letters, which he said he had purloined, 
were genuine, but on pressure being brought to bear, and 
a promise made that his wife and family should be well 
provided for, he returned to his first statement, whereupon, 
to prevent further changes of mind, he was promptly 
hanged. Regarding Logan the Lords of the Articles, 
in view of the shady nature of the evidence, were inclined 
to vote not guilty ; but the Earl of Dunbar, who was 
to get most of the accused man's remaining estates, 
" travelled so earnestly to overcome their hard opinions of 
the process," that at last they declared themselves con- 
vinced. Doom of forfeiture was accordingly pronounced. 
This was accompanied, as in the case of Clan Gregor a 
few years previously, by proscription of the name Logan 
itself, and accordingly many families were thrown into 
trouble and distress. 

The name of Logan did not, however, any more than 
that of MacGregor, disappear altogether from use. 
Among noted personages of the name was James Logan, 
who, as secretary, accompanied Penn to Pennsylvania in 
1699, and rose through many legal offices to be governor 
of the colony in 1736. The Rev. John Logan, author of 
the tragedy of " Runnymead," disputes with Michael 
Bruce the authorship of the exquisite " Ode to the 
Cuckoo," and some of our finest Paraphrases. And 
James Richardson Logan, editor of the Penang Gazette, 
remains noted for his services to the struggling settle- 
ment, and for his scientific contributions to the study of 
the East. Logan of that ilk in Ayrshire, the last of his 
house, has left a name for wit and eccentricity, though 
the volume of drolleries published under the title of The 
Laird of Logan can only in part be attributed to him. 


Facing page 204. 


BADGE : Fraoch gorm (erica vulgaris) common heath. 

WHILE several of the Highland clans, like the MacGregors 
and MacQuaries, could, by reason of their descent from 
the Scots king Alpin, support their dignity with the 
proud boast, " Royal is my race," there were others to 
whom it was open to make an almost equal claim by 
reason of their descent from the ancient princes and lords 
of the Isles. Among those who could in this way claim 
to be of the blood of the mighty Somerled were, first of 
all, the MacDonalds and MacDougalls, and deriving from 
them were lesser clans, like the Maclans of Glencoe and 
the MacAlastairs of southern Argyllshire. 

The MacAlastairs trace their descent in the famous 
MS. of 1450, from the great-grandson of Somerled, Angus 
Mor MacDonald, Lord of the Isles in the latter part of 
the thirteenth century. Angus Mor had two sons, 
Alexander, or Alastair, and Angus Og, and it is from the 
former of these that the MacAlastairs take their patronymic. 
Alexander of the Isles added considerably to his power 
and territories by marriage with one of the daughters of 
Ewen de Ergadia, otherwise John of Argyll. This 
connection, however, brought him into serious trouble, 
for his relation by marriage, Alexander of Argyll, 
married the third daughter of John, the Red Comyn, 
slain by Bruce in the church of the Minorites at Dumfries. 
In consequence of that event Alexander of Argyll and his 
son John of Lorn became Bruce's most bitter enemies. 
They were naturally supported by Alexander or Alastair 
of the Isles. Accordingly, after Bruce had finally defeated 
John of Lorn at the Bridge of Awe, and captured Alexander 
of Argyll in the stronghold of Dunstaffnage, he turned 
his attention to crushing Alexander of the Isles. For this 
purpose he had his galley drawn, like that of Magnus 
Barefoot before him, across the isthmus at Tarbert, and 
besieged the Island Lord in Castle Sweyn, his usual 
residence. Alexander was forced to surrender, and was 
forthwith imprisoned in Dundonald Castle in Ayrshire, 
where he died. At the same time his possessions and 



lordship of the Isles were forfeited and given to his 
younger brother Angus Og, whose support had been of 
so much value to the warrior king, and who figures as the 
hero of Sir Walter Scott's famous poem. 

From their descent as legitimate heirs male of the 
forfeited Alexander of the Isles, the MacAlastairs may 
claim to be the actual representatives of the mighty 

The principal seat of the MacAlastair chiefs in early 
times was at Ard Phadruic on the south side of Loch 
Tarbert. The nearest cadet of the house, MacAlastair of 
Tarbert, was Constable of Tarbert Castle, the stronghold 
built by Robert the Bruce himself after subduing 
Alexander of the Isles, and, among other positions of 
honour and power, the Stewardship of Kintyre was held 
by Charles MacAlastair in the year 1481. 

After the forfeiture, in the latter part of the fifteenth 
century, of the later line of Lords of the Isles, which 
inherited the turbulent blood of King Robert II. from a 
daughter of that king, the MacAlastairs attached them- 
selves for a time to the powerful tribe of the MacDonalds 
known as Mac Ian Mhor, whose founder John the Great 
had flourished in the year 1400. They soon, however, 
attained the dignity of an independent clan. By this time 
the seat of the chiefs was at Loup in the Cowal district 
of Loch Fyne, and in 1587, when King James VI. passed 
the Act known as the " General Band," or bond, making 
the Highland chiefs responsible to the Crown for the 
good behaviour of their clansmen and the people on their 
lands, " the Laird of Loup " appears in the list as one of 
those made accountable. This laird, Alastair MacAlastair, 
died while his son Godfrey, or Gorrie MacAlastair, was 
still a minor. 

The great house of Argyll was then rising to the height 
of its power, and doing its best by every sort of means to 
increase its territories and the number of its vassals. It 
was probably as a result of one of its schemes that in 1605, 
all the chiefs of the Isles and West Highlands were 
ordered to appear at Kilkerran, now known as Campbel- 
town, in Kintyre, exhibit the titles to their lands, renew 
allegiance to the Crown, and give securities for their loyal 
behaviour. Lord Scone, Comptroller of Scotland, was 
appointed Commissioner on the occasion. To enforce 
compliance all the fencible men of the western counties 
and burghs were ordered to assemble in arms at the 
appointed place, and all boats were to be put in possession 
of Lord Scone. In case of non-attendance, the Highland 









chiefs were to be treated as rebels, and subjected to 
forfeiture and military execution. 

It can easily be seen how an order of this kind could 
be turned to account by the House of Campbell. There 
are traditions still extant in Campbeltown of a similar 
requisition being made at a later day by the mother or wife 
of one of the Dukes of Argyll, who professed to be of an 
antiquarian taste which she wished to satisfy by a perusal 
of the titles of the Kintyre lairds. Unwilling to disoblige 
so great a dame, the lairds brought her their family 
papers. In due course, by an " accident," these papers 
were lost or destroyed, and as a result, the lairds had to 
get new titles from the Duke, in which he duly appeared 
as granter and feudal superior, while they, of course, 
appeared as holding their lands of him as his vassals. 
Only one family, it is said, escaped this misfortune. It 
owed its escape to the shrewdness of a servant. This man, 
doubting the good faith of the Duchess, disappeared with 
his master's title deeds and other papers, and took care 
not to return till all danger was past. 

By one or other of these enterprises of the House of 
Argyll the MacAlastair chiefs appear to have lost their 
patrimony in Knapdale, and to have had their possessions 
in Argyllshire confined to the lairdship of Loup. 

In 1618 the Laird of Loup was one of twenty barons 
and gentlemen of the shire who were made responsible 
for the maintenance of order in the earldom during the 
absence of Argyll. He was now the earl's vassal, and 
accordingly when the Civil War broke out and the 
Marquess of Montrose took arms for Charles I. in 
Scotland, MacAlastair himself remained at home, though 
many of his clansmen joined the Royalist forces. 

The chief of that time married Margaret, daughter of 
Campbell of Kilberry. A century and a half later, in 1792, 
Charles MacAlastair of Loup married Janet Somerville, 
heiress of Kennox in Ayrshire, and, in right of his wife, in 
1805 added the name and arms of Somerville to his own. 
From that time the familv was known as Somerville 
MacAlastair of Loup and Kennox. 



: Garbhag afl t-sleibh (lycopodium selago) Fir club moss. 
Also Lus mhic righ Bhreatainn (thymis syrpillum) 
wild thyme. 
SLOGAN : Eisa ! O Eisa ! 

WHILE many clans appear to have flourished and 
immensely increased their power and possessions under 
the early feudal system, there were others whose fortunes 
were very different. Like a plant with a worm at the root 
they wilted and did not thrive. In some cases, like that 
of the Bissets, they seem to have been snuffed out by 
some great feud or disaster ; in others they became chiefless, 
broken men, without a common cause, and therefore 
ineffectual in the page of history ; and in many instances 
they subsided to the position of mere septs of another 
clan. No more striking instance of contrasting fortunes 
of this sort could perhaps be cited than that of the clans 
MacArthur and Campbell. In their case the original 
position and chiefship appear to have been exactly 
reversed, the MacArthurs, who were originally the main 
stem and chiefs of the clan, having become in course of 
time something like a sept under the protection of their 
younger offshoot. 

In this connection the whole question of the origin of 
Clan Campbell is discussed by Skene in his well-known 
work on the Highlanders of Scotland. All students of 
Highland history are aware of the theory according to 
which the name of Campbell is made out to be originally 
Norman-French, and the ancestor of the family to have 
been one of the Norman notables who " came over with 
the Conqueror." Against this theory Skene points out 
that no such name as De Campo Bello appears in the Roll 
of Battle Abbey, Domesday Book, or other record of that 
time. This fact would not necessarily render the theory 
of Norman descent untenable, but there is, further, the 
evidence of the old Gaelic genealogies to show that the 
family was originally understood to be of Celtic origin. 
The old theory was similar to that of a Norman origin for 
the Clan MacKenzie, which has been shown by actual 
documents to be impossible. De Campo Bello, it is said, 
acquired the first property of the Clan in Argyllshire by 



marriage with the heiress of a certain Paul O'Duibne. 
This, Skene points out, is the common form which family 
tradition has taken in the Highlands in cases where the 
chiefship has been usurped by the oldest cadet of the 
family. He cites the oldest Gaelic genealogists to show 
that the Campbells were descended in the male line from 
this very family of O'Duibne, and in support of his state- 
ment that the Campbells were originally a cadet branch, 
he points out that the MacArthurs of Strachur, as " the 
acknowledged descendant of the older house," have at all 
times disputed the chiefship with the Argyll family. The 
tradition of the MacArthurs is that the Campbells were an 
offshoot of their house ; and an old saying in Argyllshire 
runs, " There is nothing older, unless the hills, Mac- 
Arthur, and the Devil." 

At the first appearance of the race in history in the 
reign of Alexander III. it is divided into two great 
families, distinguished by the patronymics of MacArthur 
and MacCailean Mor. MacCailean Mor, ancestor of the 
Campbells of to-day, first appears on the historic page as 
witness to the charter of erection of the Burgh of New- 
burgh by Alexander III. in 1266. At that time he is 
believed to have been Sheriff of Argyll, an office created 
by Alexander II. in 1221. But till the reign of King 
Robert the Bruce, according to Skene, the family possessed 
no heritable property in Argyll. The MacArthurs, on the 
contrary, were possessors of very extensive territory in the 
old earldom of Garmoran, and were clearly, in power as 
well as in seniority, at the head of the Clan. As early as 
1275 Cheristine, only daughter of Alan MacRuarai, 
granted a charter " Arthuro filio domini Arthuri Camp- 
bell, militis, de terris de Mudewarde, Ariseg, et Mordower, 
et insulis de Egge et Rumme." In the early years of the 
following century MacArthur embraced the cause of King 
Robert the Bruce, fought for him at Bannockburn, and 
was rewarded handsomely out of the lands of the defeated 
MacDougals. He was made Keeper of Dunstaffnage, and 
granted a considerable part of Lome. To these posses- 
sions his descendants added Strachur, in Cowal, on the 
shore of Loch Fyne, as well as parts of Glenfalloch and 

It was in the days of Robert the Bruce that the Mac- 
Arthur chiefs reached the climax of their fortunes, and it 
is interesting, in view of later events, to enquire what was 
their actual ancestry. Herein lies a point of much more 
interest, with much better foundation of history to support 
it, than may have been commonly supposed. 

VOL. i. 


According to the legendary account of the Highland 
clans in early Gaelic manuscripts, given by Skene in 
Appendix VIII. of his Celtic Scotland, Cailean Mor, from 
whom the modern chiefs of the Campbells take their 
patronymic, and who is known to have been slain in the 
famous pursuit on the Sraing of Lome, was the grandson 
of Dugall Cambel or " Crooked Mouth," from whom came 
the name of Campbell. Dugall's great-great-grandfather 
was Duibne, whose daughter, according to the legend of 
Norman descent from De Campo Bello, carried the chief- 
ship to a family of that name; and Duibne was great- 
grandson of Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, son of 
Ambrosius. The Red Book of Argyll declares the 
ancestor of the race to have been Smervie Mor, son of 
King Arthur of the Round Table, and the statement is 
supported by the fact that the badge of the clan is the 
Lus mhic righ Bhreatainn " the plant of the son of the 
King of Britain," wild thyme. 

Here we have a link which may well startle the student 
of Highland history, an actual claim in early manuscripts 
that the Clan Arthur and the Clan Campbell are descended 
from the famous Arthur of British history, whose deeds 
have formed the favourite subject of romancer and poet 
almost from his own time till the present day. The claim 
is, however, by no means so strange or so entirely unlikely 
as it looks. Elsewhere in his Celtic Scotland Skene has 
shown that the actual historic Arthur fought his battles, 
not in the south of Wales, as modern readers of Tenny- 
son, Swinburne, and Matthew Arnold are apt to suppose, 
but in the Lowlands of Scotland and on the fringes of the 
Highlands, on Loch Lomondside, and the northern district 
of Northumberland. The pages of Nennius, the historian 
of those early centuries, remain as undoubted evidence of 
this fact. It can be easily shown how all subsequent 
Arthurian literature has had Nennius for its original, and 
also how the popular tales of the deeds of Arthur have 
followed the Cymric, British, or Welsh language as it 
ceased to be spoken in the Scottish Lowlands and early 
princedom of Strathclyde, and came to have its chief seat 
in Wales and Cornwall. The present writer has shown 
elsewhere, from documentary evidence, that, as son of 
Eugenius, or Owen ap Urien, King of Reged or the 
Lennox, in the sixth century, St. Kentigern or Mungo, 
the patron saint of Glasgow, was grand-nephew of this 
historic Arthur, and the fact may be taken to show how 
not at all unlikely is the claim of the ancient Gaelic manu- 
scripts for an Arthurian origin of the Clan Arthur and 


Clan Campbell. There are many enduring memorials of 
the great King Arthur in Scotland, including some two 
hundred place-names, from Arthur's Seat in Midlothian 
to Ben Arthur in Argyll; but surely none of these is so 
interesting as the memorial remaining in this name of the 
ancient Highland clan which had its seat under the shadow 
of Ben Arthur itself on the shore of Loch Fyne. 

The causes which led to the decadence of Clan Arthur 
and the ascendancy of Clan Campbell, though they are to 
some extent obscure, might be well worth the pains of 
the historic antiquary to trace. It has already been 
mentioned that the MacArthur chief took arms in the cause 
of King Robert the Bruce. So did the chief of the 
Campbells, Sir Neil, grandson of the famous Cailean Mor, 
from whom the later Campbell chiefs have all been known 
as MacCailean Mor. Both of these chiefs earned the 
gratitude of the king, and both were generously rewarded 
with lands of Bruce's enemies. But Sir Neil Campbell 
had another reward which was bound to bear still greater 
fruit in years to come. This was the hand of a sister of 
the Bruce, and there can be no question that the royal 
relationship gave the Campbells a rise in influence which 
nothing else could have done. To this marriage, indeed, 
typical of many others by which the Campbells afterwards 
advanced their fortunes and increased their estates, may 
probably be ascribed the real foundation of the subsequent 
greatness of that house. It was not very long afterwards 
when the Campbell chiefs began to show the leadings of 
their ambition. In the reign of Bruce's son, King 
David II., MacCailean Mor made the f rst effort to secure 
the chief ship of the clan. The attempt was resisted by 
MacArthur, who procured a charter declaring that he held 
his lands from no subject but from the king alone, and the 
MacArthurs continued to maintain this position till the 
time of James I., Bruce's great-great-grandson. 

Down till the time of that king and even later, the 
feudal dependence of the Highland chiefs upon the Crown 
remained in many cases more nominal than real. The 
Lords of the Isles, we know, still at intervals claimed to be 
independent sovereigns. In the reign of James II. the 
Lord of the Isles made an independent treaty as a sover- 
eign prince with the King of England, and, in the 
interests of the defeated Earl of Douglas, his lieutenant, 
Donald Balloch, invaded and harried the shores of Clyde. 
Later still, the MacGregors, with the proud boast " My 
race is royal," declared that they would hold their lands 
by no " sheepskin tenures," but by the strength of their 


own right arm and the ancient coir a glaive or power of 
the sword. It was to put an end to this ancient allodial 
and irresponsible tenure, which constituted a grave danger 
to the State, and to establish uniformly in its place the 
system of feudal tenure under which each chief should 
acknowledge that he held his territory from the Crown, 
and should become answerable to the Crown for the 
administration of law and for the defence of the realm, 
that King James I. summoned his famous early parlia- 
ment at Inverness. The Highland chiefs were called to 
attend that Parliament, and among those who came was 
John MacArthur, chief of the name. Bower, the con- 
tinuator of Fordoun's Chronicle, describes MacArthur as 
" a great chief among his own people, and leader of a 
thousand men"; but MacArthur's hour had come. 
Along with a considerable number of others whose 
independence and turbulence the king considered a danger 
to the State, MacArthur was seized, imprisoned, and 
beheaded. All his property was forfeited to the Crown 
excepting Strachur, and some of his lands in Perthshire, 
and so great was the blow thus struck at the family fortunes 
that the MacArthurs never again appeared as makers of 
history in the North. 

The act of King James I. effectually cleared the way 
for the ambition of the house of MacCailean Mor, which 
from that time remained in undisputed possession of the 
honours of the chiefship of the race. Soon afterwards 
their position was made still further secure by their being 
raised to the rank of the nobility, and from century to 
century, by means of advantageous marriages and shrewd 
tactics, they continued to raise themselves in power and 
influence. At the same time the MacArthurs sank to the 
position of private gentlemen, and though they never 
ceased to claim the honours of the chiefship, they never 
found themselves in a position to make that claim effectual. 
MacArthur of Strachur, last in the line of chiefship, 
died unmarried about the middle of the nineteenth 

A number of MacArthurs remained for centuries about 
Dunstaffnage, but where their chief had once been 
hereditary keeper they had become merely tenants to the 
Campbells. Among others of the race were the Mac- 
Arthurs, who, from father to son, throughout a long line, 
remained hereditary pipers to the MacDonalds of the 
Isles. Several anecdotes of these MacArthur pipers are 
recorded by Angus MacKay, piper to Queen Victoria, in 
his work on Pibroch music. The last of the race, who was 


for many years piper to the Highland Society, and a com- 
poser of many pieces still held in high esteem, died about 
the middle of last century in London. 

It is sad to think that a clan which could boast descent 
from so great and romantic a figure as the King Arthur of 
British history should thus so completely melt and die 
away from the proud ranks of Highland chiefship. 
Inishail in Loch Awe is the recognised burying-place of 
the clan. 






BADGE : Giuthas (pinus sylvestris) pine. 

VERY considerable doubt exists as to the origin of the 
MacAulay clan. The name itself might suggest descent 
from a Norwegian source, as it might mean " Son of 
Olaf," and the situation of the ancient stronghold of the 
chiefs, Ardincaple, at the mouth of the Gareloch in Dun- 
bartonshire, might be used to support this theory. A 
similar sea-eyrie, Dunollie near Oban, on the Argyllshire 
coast, is said to have been the " Fort of Olaf." Ardin- 
caple is perhaps rather far up the Firth of Clyde to have 
been a fastness of the bold Norse conquerors who built the 
castles of Rothesay and Dunoon, but this fact in not con- 
clusive against the suggestion. Another theory regarding 
the origin of the name MacAulay as of Dunollie is that 
it was derived from " ollamh," a physician. But what- 
ever may be the resources of a Harley Street specialist at 
the present day, it is extremely unlikely that a medicine- 
man of the Highlands in the time of Somerled or Hakon, 
or even Robert the Bruce, would be able to build himself 
a stronghold like either Dunollie or Ardincaple. 

The favourite tradition of the MacAulays themselves 
is that they are a branch of Clan Alpin, and therefore kin 
to the MacGregors. The only evidence in support of this 
idea, however, is the action of MacAulay of Ardincaple 
in 1591 and his descendant in 1694. In the former of these 
years the chief signed a bond of manrent with MacGregor 
of Glenstrae, in which he acknowledged himself a cadet 
of the MacGregor family, and agreed to pay Glenstrae the 
" calp," or tribute of cattle, in token of his superiority. 
And a century later, in 1694, in a similar bond to Sir 
Duncan Campbell of Auchinbriae, the MacAulay of that 
time acknowledged the same descent from the House of 

It looks, however, as if rather much reliance had been 
placed on these statements. The chief of 1694 seems 
merely to have copied the statement of his predecessor of 
1591, and there is considerable reason to believe that the 



lacing page 214- 


earlier statement may have been made for other reasons 
than mere zeal to elucidate a Highland genealogy. In 
1591 the MacGregors were threatening to make things 
more than uncomfortable for their neighbours on the 
shores of Loch Lomond, Gareloch, and Loch Long. They 
secured the alliance of MacFarlane of Arrochar, and 
it was possibly only to protect himself from their 
vengeance that MacAulay in 1591 found it prudent to sign 
the bond of manrent. He escaped, at any rate, from the 
fate which befell his neighbours, the Colquhouns. In 
the following year the MacGregors and MacFarlanes 
raided Colquhoun's lands, shut the chief up in his castle 
of Bannachra, and, aided by Colquhoun's servant when 
lighting his master up a stair, shot him dead through a 
loophole. Eleven years later the MacGregors, in still 
greater force, again raided the lands of Luss, defeated the 
Colquhouns with great slaughter in Glenfruin, and 
destroyed all the Colquhoun possessions. 

From such attacks the bond of manrent saved Mac- 
Aulay and his lands of Ardincaple on the other side of 
the hill. The action of the Government of James VI. 
which followed, seems to have recognised the fact that 
MacAulay, in signing the bond of manrent with Mac- 
Gregor, had merely done so under force majeure, for, 
while MacGregor was executed and his clan proscribed, 
Sir Aulay MacAulay of Ardincaple and his clan were 
exempted from retribution. 

For this exemption, according to Skene, MacAulay was 
indebted to the protection of the Earl of Lennox. The 
fact may be taken as evidence of a very different origin 
of the clan. Joseph Irving in his History of Dunbarton- 
shire, states that the surname of the family was originally 
Ardincaple of that ilk. "A Celtic derivation," he says, 
" may be claimed for this family, founded on the agree- 
ment entered into between the chief of the clan Gregor and 
Ardincaple in 1591, when they describe themselves as 
originally descended from the same stock, ' M'Alpin of 
auld ' ; but the theory most in harmony with the annals 
of the house (of Ardincaple) fixes their descent from a 
younger son of the second Alwyn, Earl of Lennox." 
Alwyne or Aulay was a common Christian name in the 
Lennox family. The second and third of the early race 
of earls bore this name. The MacAulays, further, 
repeatedly appear in the deeds in the Lennox chartulary, 
and their relations with that house appear to have been 
fairly personal and close. If, as seems likely, they were 
really cadets of the Lennox family, they could claim 


kinship with James VI. himself, who was the actual head 
of that house, and this would largely account for the fact 
that they escaped prosecution after the battle of Glenfruin, 
when their quondam allies, the MacGregors, were being 
everywhere relentlessly hunted down. 

Another clan proved by undeniable documentary 
evidence to be descended from the Lennox family was 
that of MacAulay's neighbours, the MacFarlanes, who in 
similar fashion were coerced into an alliance by the Mac- 
Gregors, and similarly escaped punishment after Glenfruin. 

As if to show still more unmistakably that the state- 
ment of kinship with the MacGregors inserted in the bond 
of manrent of 1591, was no more than a convenient fiction, 
Sir Aulay MacAulay, when the MacGregors were pro- 
scribed for their evil deeds, was one of those who took up 
their prosecution with most energy. 

In view of all the facts it would seem that the tradition 
attributing the origin of the house of Ardincaple to a 
younger son of an Earl of Lennox, has the chief weight of 
evidence on its side. In any case the family was of 
consequence as early as the thirteenth century, for the 
name of Maurice de Arncaple appears on the Ragman 
Roll. Nisbet (vol. ii. appendix, p. 35) in his Historical 
and Critical Remarks on the Ragman Roll, states that 
MacAulay was not adopted as a surname till the time of 
James V. Alexander de Ardincaple, son of Aulay de 
Ardincaple, then adopted it as more suitable for the head 
of a clan than the feudal designation previously borne, of 
Ardincaple of that ilk. 

Sir Aulay MacAulay, of the time of the battle of Glen- 
fruin, died in December, 1617, and was succeeded by his 
cousin-german Alexander. This chief's son, Walter, was 
twice sheriff of Dunbarton. The sheriff's son, Aulay 
MacAulay, though a member of the Episcopal Church, 
was by no means a Jacobite, but on the contrary, at the 
Revolution in 1689, raised a company of fencibles for the 
cause of William and Mary. 

It was with this chief that the decline of the family 
began. He and his successors, as a result of their extrava- 
gant habits, were forced to part with one possession after 
another, till every acre of their once great territories was 
gone. Aulay MacAulay, twelfth and last chief, sold his 
roofless castle to John, fourth Duke of Argyll, and died 
a poor man about 1767. 

Meanwhile, early in the eighteenth century, forced to 
migrate, probably, by the impoverished state of their chief, 
a number of MacAulays settled in Caithness and Suther- 










land, while others passed into Argyllshire, where some of 
their descendants were afterwards known by the name of 
MacPheideran. A number also migrated to Ireland, 
where their chief owned the estate of Glenarm in Antrim. 
Already, however, at an earlier date, another tribe of 
emigrants from Garelochside had moved farther afield. It 
was from this race that the chief distinction of the clan 
was afterwards to come. Settling at Uig, in the south- 
west of Lewis, they engaged in constant feuds with the 
Morrisons of Ness at the north end of the island. In the 
days of James VI., when the Fife Adventurers settled at 
Stornoway, in the first of those attempts to bring prosperity 
to the Lewis, of which the attempt of Lord Leverhulme is 
the latest example, an outstanding part in the strife that 
ensued was played by one of these MacAulays. This 
individual, known as Donald Cam, from his blindness in 
one eye, was renowned for his strength. His son, " the 
Man " or Tacksman, of Brenish, has had his feats com- 
memorated in many songs and tales. His son again, 
Aulay MacAulay, was minister successively of Tiree and 
Coll and of Harris. Of the minister's six sons, five were 
educated for the ministry and one for the Bar. One of 
these sons, Kenneth, minister of Ardnamurchan, wrote 
the History of St. Kilda, praised by Dr. Johnson. 
Another, the eldest, the Rev. John MacAulay, A.M., was 
minister of Inveraray, where he encountered Dr. Johnson, 
and afterwards of Cardross on the Clyde. He had three 
distinguished sons. One became a general in the East 
India Company's service. Another, known by his literary 
works, was made vicar of Rothley by Thomas Babington, 
M.P., who had married his sister. A third, Zachary, 
became notable as a member of the Anti-Slavery Society, 
under its auspices became Governor of Sierra Leone, and 
had his efforts recognised by a monument in Westminster 
Abbey. Zachary married Selina Mills, the daughter of a 
Bristol bookseller, and their son was Thomas Babington, 
Lord MacAulay, M.P. for Edinburgh, author of Lays of 
Ancient Rome, The History of England, and some of the 
most brilliant essays in the English language. 




BADGE : Lus nam Braoileag (vaccineum vitis idaea) Red whortle- 
PIBROCH : Mo Run Geal Og. 

NOT much is known of the origin of the name and race of 
the MacBeans. According to some the cognomen means 
" the son of the Ben " or mountain; but such a name 
would be applicable to many Highland tribes, and is not 
specific enough to convey any distinctiveness. Had this 
been the origin of the name there would almost certainly 
have been some local or colour qualification added. But 
no one has ever heard of a family called MacBean Dearg 
or MacBean Vorlich. Dr. Almand MacBain, the well- 
known Gaelic scholar, considers the race and name to be 
the same as that of MacBeth. Both, he says, came 
from Moray, a Badenoch branch was actually called 
" Chlann 'Aoal-B heath," and the name MacBheathain 
would formerly have been Mac-'ic-Bheatha, or MacBeth. 
It seems much more likely, however, that the name took 
its origin from the outstanding characteristic of an 
ancestor. One of the Scottish Kings of the eleventh 
century was known as Donald Ban, or Donald the Fair, 
and the adjective is commonly enough, as a distinction, 
attached to the name of clansmen at the present day, 
a notable instance being that of Duncan Ban Mac- 
Intyre the Gaelic poet. In the matter of race, the 
MacBeans have been claimed as a sept of Clan Cameron, 
chiefly by reason of the fact that some of them fought 
under the banner of Lochiel at Culloden. But on that 
occasion a still larger party fought in the ranks of the 
Mackintoshes, and there is further reason to believe that 
from very early times the clan regarded itself as a part of 
Clan Chattan. The Kinrara MS. records several facts of 
the time of King Robert the Bruce which make it certain 
that at any rate one family of the name then recognised 
Mackintosh as its chief. The first reference mentions how 
in the time of Angus, the sixth Mackintosh chief " Bean 
MacDomhnuil Mor lived in Lochaber and was a faithful 
servant to Mackintosh against the Red Comyn, who 



Facing page 2iS. 


possessed Inverlochy." Shortly afterwards the MS. 
records how, " In the time of William, first of the name, 
and seventh of Mackintosh, William Mhor MacBean Vic 
Domhnuill-Mhor, and his four sons, Paul, Gillies, 
William-Mhor, and Farquhar, after they had slain the 
Red Corny n's steward at Inverlochie, came to Cosinage, 
where Mackintosh then resided, and for themselves and 
their posterity, took protection of him and his." The 
same annalist refers to another incident which would seem 
to show that, a century later, the MacBeans were regarded 
as distinctly a sept of the same great confederacy. " No 
tribe of Clan Chattan," the history relates, " suffered so 
severely at Harlaw as Clan Vean." 

Mr. A. M. Mackintosh in his History of the Mackin- 
toshes and Clan Chattan quotes a number of charters and 
bands which show that the MacBeans took an intimate 
part in the affairs of the Mackintosh chiefs. In 1490 
Donald MacPaul or Macphail (son of Paul) witnessed a 
band between the lairds of Mackintosh and Kilravock, and 
two years later Donald Macphail and Gillies Macphail 
witnessed a contract between Ferquhard Mackintosh and 
the Dunbars. This Gillies, Mr. Mackintosh identifies 
with the Gillies M'Fal who appears in the Exchequer 
Rolls as tenant of Dulleter in 1502-8, and his son as the 
William MacGillies MacFaill who signed Clan Chattan 's 
band in 1543. 

So far the family were merely tenants of land. The 
next head of the house, Paul M'William vie Gillies, who 
in 1568 witnessed the infeftment of the sixteenth Mackin- 
tosh Chief in Dunachton, is designated merely as "in 
Kinchellye." Even in 1609, when the head of this house 
was clearly recognised as chief of his race, he was still 
only a tenant. In that year Angus MacPhail " in 
Kinkell " signed the Band of Union, " taking the full 
burden in and upon him of his kin and race of Clan Vean." 
In 1610, however, Angus obtained a feu of his lands from 
Campbell of Cawdor, and he duly appears as laird " of 
Kinchyle " in the Valuation Roll of 1644. 

Angus's son John was the first to bear clearly the 
present family name. He received his sasine of the lands 
of Kinchyle in 1651 as " John MacBean, alias M' Angus 
vie Phaill, lawful son and nearest heir of Angus M' Phaill 
vie William vie Gillies." 

John's son and successor Paul took no part in Mac- 
kintosh's feudal demonstration in Lochaber in 1667, 
but in 1669 he atoned to the Captain of Clan Chattan by 
giving him a regular bond of manrent in the ancient style, 


undertaking to " follow him as his chief, with all his men y 
tenants, family, and followers of the Clan Vean, against . : 
all men except only the King, Lord Huntly, and the Laird [ 
of Calder." Later, with two others, he undertook, for a 
payment of blackmail, to protect the lands of Strathdearn, 
Strathnairn, and adjoining districts against the depreda- 
tions of cattle thieves. 

Paul's son William, who was infefted in the family 
estate in his father's lifetime, seems to have fallen into 
money difficulties. In 1697 he and his father were put 
to the horn ; in 1708 he had to grant sasine of his lands of 
Kinchyle, Dores, Chapelton, Achnashangach, and others, 
to Mackintosh of Borlum, on a bond for 8000 merks ; and 
ten years later Mackintosh of Culclachy held a wadset over 
Dores and Chapelton for ^"5000. 

From these embarrassments the family seems never to 
have recovered, and its difficulties were certainly not 
lessened by the part taken by its chiefs in the Jacobue 
risings of 1715 and 1745. -^neas or Angus MacBean, 
William's eldest son, was a captain in Mackintosh's 
regiment in the Earl of Mar's army, while the fifth son 
John was a lieutenant. They shared the march into 
England and surrender at Preston. ^Eneas is believed to 
have been living in 1745, so that his brother, Gillies Mor, 
who played a heroic part then, was not " of Kinchyle 
as is generally stated. At the proving of his will he was 
described as son to Kinchyle and late tacksman at Dun- 
achton, domiciled at Dalmagerry. Among his property 
was a copper still valued at seven pounds; in the " List of 
Persons concerned in the Rebellion " he is described as 
a " brewer "; and it has been conjectured that, his farm 
at Dunachton having proved unsuccessful, he was the inn- 
keeper at Dalmagerry. 

Brewer or innkeeper, Major Gillies MacBean stands 
out as one of the most valiant figures on the Culloden 
battlefield. Six feet four and a half inches in height, 
and armed with claymore and target, he was a formidable 
figure. When the Argyll militia broke down a wall on 
the right, which enabled the dragoons to attack the 
flank of the Highland army, MacBean set himself at the 
gap, and cut down man after man as they came through. 
Thirteen in all, including Lord Robert Ker, had fallen 
under his strokes, and when the enraged enemy closed 
round him in numbers, he set his back to the wall and 
proceeded to sell his life as dearly as possible. An Eng- 
lish officer, struck by his heroism, called to the soldiers to 
" save that brave man," but at that moment the heroic 


Major fell, his thigh bone broken, a dreadful sword cut 
on his head, and his body pierced with many bayonet 
wounds. His widow is said to have composed a pathetic 
lament to his memory Mo run geal oig, " My fair young 
beloved." His fate was also enshrined in a set of verses 
which appeared in a northern periodical and have been 
attributed to Lord Byron. Three of the stanzas run; 

Though thy cause was the cause of the injured and brave, 
Though thy death was the hero's and glorious thy grave, 
With thy dead foes around thee, piled high on the plain, 
My sad heart bleeds o'er thee, my Gillies MacBain ! 

How the horse and the horsemen thy single hand slew ! 
But what could the mightiest single arm do ? 
A hundred like thee might the battle regain; 
But cold are thy hand and heart, Gillies MacBain! 

With thy back to the wall and thy breast to the targe, 
Full flashed thy claymore in the face of their charge; 
The blood of their boldest that barren turf stain, 
But alas ! thine is reddest there, Gillies MacBain ! 

Another member of the clan, of the same name, Gillies 
MacBean of Free, formerly of Falie, also fought at 
Culloden, but under the banner of Lochiel. He received 
two bullets in ""his leg, but was able to leave the field. 
Coming up with Lochiel, who had been wounded in both 
ankles, and was being carried out of action by two near 
relatives, MacBean undertook to convey him to a place of 
safety whence he might easily get to his own country. On 
crossing the Nairn at Craigie they were intercepted by 
some of Cumberland's men. Compelled to fight, they 
killed some of their opponents and the others made off. 
At home the wife of Gillies dressed LochieFs wounds, 
and with a pair of scissors extracted the bullets from her 
husband's leg. MacBean lived to be an old man, and has 
his virtues recorded in a Gaelic inscription in the church- 
yard of Moy. 

Still another gentleman of the clan, ^neas MacBean, 
whose son was afterwards Secession minister at Inverness, 
was pursued from the battlefield by two dragoons. His 
path was barred by a torrent, and he was about to be 
cut down when by a tremendous effort he leaped across. 
The dragoons followed, but the fugitive making a circuit, 
again leapt the chasm, and with tremendous exertion he 
repeated these tactics till his pursuers tired of the effort, 
and gave it up. He also lived long afterwards to tell the 


Meanwhile Donald, the son of Major Gillies MacBean, 
who also had taken part in the battle, and had escaped, 
succeeded his uncle ^neas as Chieftain and Laird of 
Kinchyle. Obtaining a commission in the first regiment 
raised by the Hon. Simon Fraser in 1757, he proceeded 
on service to North America. The trustees whom he left 
in charge of his affairs, finding them hopelessly embar- 
rassed, sold Kinchyle and the other family estates to 
Simon Fraser, a Gibraltar merchant, who also purchased 
the Mackintosh estate of Borlum. After the disbanding 
of Fraser's Highlanders in 1763 MacBean became a 
captain in Lord Drumlanrig's regiment, and retiring later, 
lived in 1780 at Teary, near Forres. 

It seems probable that the succession was carried on 
by one of the kinsmen named as trustee by Donald Mac- 
Bean when he went abroad. This Captain-Lieutenant 
Forbes MacBean of 1757, seems to have been the grandson 
of Paul MacBean of Kinchyle who infefted his son William 
in his estates in 1689. The Captain-Lieutenant became 
General Forbes MacBean, R.A., and according to Mr. 
A. M. Mackintosh, the historian of Clan Chattan, the 
representative, through three generations of distinguished 
soldiers was, in 1903, Archibald MacBean, late captain 
in the 37th Regiment. 

The three most important cadets of Clan Vean were 
the MacBeans of Faillie, of Tomatin, and of Drummond. 
Of these branches the first and last no longer possess 
their family lands. Only MacBean of Tomatin remains 
a land-owner in the old country of his clan. 

Still another branch of the race were the Bains or 
Baynes of Tulloch in Ross-shire. About the time when 
the Kinchyle family were being definitely recognised as 
chieftains a fray occurred at a market in Ross-shire which 
showed that the Bains of Tulloch were a family of con- 
siderable position and esteem. At a market at Logieree 
on the Conan on Candlemas Day, 1597, a brother of 
Macleod of Raasay, swaggering about with a " tail " of 
six or eight henchmen, not only refused to pay for certain 
wares he had bought, but proceeded to assault the merchant 
and his wife. Indignant at the outrage, Ian Bain, brother 
of the Laird of Tulloch, remonstrated with the aggressor. 
The latter answered scornfully, and from hot words the 
dispute came to blows. Bain had only his foster-brother 
to support him, but he slew Macleod and two of his men. 
The Mackenzies then took the side of the Macleods, while 
the Munros came into the fray to support Ian Bain. In 
a running fight as far as Mulchaich several were slain 


on both sides, but Bain and his foster-brother escaped 
unhurt, and took refuge with Lord Lovat at Beauly. 
Lovat not only protected them, but sent his kinsman, 
Fraser of Phopachie to represent their case at court, with 
the result that Bain was assoilzied, while proceedings were 
ordered to be taken against his opponents. 

Holders of the name of Bain, MacBean, and MacVean 
have long been outstanding in the municipal and business 
life of Inverness. In the eighteenth century James Baine, 
minister of Killearn and Paisley became minister of the 
first Relief congregation in Edinburgh in 1766, and pub- 
lished a history of modern church reformation. Of the 
same period was Alexander MacBean, one of the six 
amanuenses whom Dr. Samuel Johnson employed in the 
compilation of his dictionary. And in our own day the 
clan has been able to count such notable members as the 
late Australian statesman Sir James MacBean, K.C.M.G.; 
Alexander MacBain, the well-known antiquary, and man 
of letters, editor of Reliquiae Celticce and other works; 
and George Bain, author of the History of Nairnshire, 
and The River Findhorn, and editor of The Nairnshire 


Bean MacBeath 

MacBeth Macilvain 



PIBROCH : Cogadh no Sith. 

THE bagpipe as a musical instrument is common to many 
nations in Europe and Asia. It was probably a natural, 
though ingenious development of the simple reed instru- 
ment blown directly from the lips. By interposing the 
mechanical device of a large bag or wind reservoir between 
the inlet pipe and the chanter or pipe containing the reed 
and the finger-holes by which the sound was produced 
and manipulated, the player would find he added 
immensely to the volume of his music and to his own 
powers of endurance. A still later and formidable 
improvement was the addition of the drones. In no 
country, however, has pipe-music been brought to such 
perfection and used to such effect as in the Highlands of 
Scotland. The original musical instrument of the Gael 
was not the bagpipe but the clarsach, or portable harp. 
The songs of Ossian and the later Celtic bards were sung 
to the accompaniment of this sweet but rather feeble 
instrument, which, by the way, was also common to many 
primitive peoples, such as the Jews. Miriam, the sister 
of Moses, danced before the Ark on a famous occasion to 
the sound of the clarsach. The bagpipe was a compara- 
tively recent introduction to Scotland. There is no word 
of it in the story of King Robert the Bruce as told by 
Barbour, or in the romantic narrative of Froissart or the 
accounts of the battle of Harlaw a hundred years later. 
Mr. Manson, in his History of the Scottish Bag-pipe, sets 
its introduction about the first quarter of the fifteenth 

No musical instrument could have been better adapted 
to the hills and glens and lochsides of the Scottish High- 
lands, or to the methods of clan warfare, and it is 
characteristic of pipe-music that many of the most famous 
airs extant at the present hour had their origin in some 
historic event like the triumph or defeat of a clan, the 
death of a famous chief, or some other outstanding episode 
of Highland history. No instrument is better adapted for 
battle purposes. Even now, when the other bandsmen 



Facing page 221 


are sent to the rear, the piper of a Highland battalion goes 
" over the top " with his company, and many a thrilling 
and heroic tradition has been added in this way to the lore 
of the mountain music within recent years. 

Coeval with the coming to Scotland of the bagpipe 
itself appears to have been the rise of the family which 
more than any other raised pipe-playing to eminence as 
an art, and added lustre to its practice by the excellence 
of its performance and the charm of its compositions. 
According to a very questionable tradition the first of the 
race was an individual who studied at Cremona in Italy 
and settled in Glenelg. At any rate, whatever their 
origin, the MacCrimmons appear to have been the 
hereditary pipers to the Chiefs of Macleod for something 
like three hundred years. As the endowment of their 
office they held the considerable estate of Boreraig, and 
there to the present day is pointed out the residence, 
Oiltigh, where they carried on a more or less regular 
college or Academy of Music for the instruction of aspiring 
pipers from all parts of the Highlands who flocked thither 
in the hope of attaining the secret of their mastery and 
something like their enduring fame. The family is be- 
lieved to have held the office from a date early in the 
sixteenth century, but the first of the name on record was 
Ian Odhar, or Dun-coloured John, who flourished about 
the year 1600. A genealogy of his descendants is given 
in Hanson's Highland Bagpipe. 

Countless stories are still told in the Highlands regard- 
ing these MacCrimmon pipers. During the feuds between 
the Macleods and the Mackenzies a brother of Donald 
More MacCrimmon, son of Ian Odhar, and chief of the 
name at that time, was slain by the Mackenzies in Kintail, 
and Donald More himself experienced many thrilling 
adventures and escapes in his effort to avenge him. 
Among other exploits he set fire to eighteen houses in 
Kintail, and brought the country about his ears. His 
exploits came to an end with an episode not unworthy to 
be set beside that of David, King of Judah, when he cut 
a fragment from the skirt of the robe of his enemy Saul 
in the Cave of Adullam. The Mackenzie Chief, hearing 
that Donald was in his neighbourhood, had sent out his 
son with a party of men to arrest him, and these men 
happened to come to the very house where he lay con- 
cealed. As they sat round the fire they barred his onlv 
way of escape, and it seemed only a question of time till 
one or other of them must discover him. The day, how- 
ever, happened to be wet, and as they threw off their 
VOL. i. p 


drenched plaids, the woman of the house, on the prete 
of drying them, hung them across the room in such a wa 
that MacCrimmon was able to pass behind them unper- 
ceived, and make his escape. The day continued storm 
and the Mackenzies remained telling tales round the fire. 
That night, when the party lay asleep, he returned, and, 
collecting their weapons, laid them across each other 
beside the bed in which their leader slept. In the morn- 
ing Mackenzie was startled to find the weapons there, but, 
rightly judging whose daring hand had laid them by his 
bed, and had spared his life when he might have taken 
it, he arranged an interview with MacCrimmon, procured 
his pardon, and sent him home to Skye unharmed. 

This Donald More's son, Patrick More, was the author, 
under very affecting circumstances of one of the finest 
bagpipe airs. He was the father of eight grown-up sons, 
all of whom together frequently accompanied him to kirk 
and market. In a single year he had the grief to lose no 
fewer than seven of them by death, and on recovering 
somewhat from his grief he immortalised his loss by the 
composition of the pathetic pibroch Cumhadh na Cloinne, 
the " Lament for the Children.'-' 

This same Patrick More MacCrimmon is himself com- 
memorated in a well-known salute and in a lament for 
him composed by his brother. Another famous compo- 
sition of the MacCrimmons, Cogadh no Sith, " Peace 01 
War," is commemorated as the motto of the clan undei 
their crest. 

At the time of the landing of Prince Charles Edward 
in 1745 the chief of the MacCrimmons was Donald Ban 
As piper he accompanied Macleod, who adhered to tht 
Government, when with the Munros he marched upor 
Aberdeen to seize Lord Lewis Gordon. The force, how- 
ever, was attacked and routed at Inverurie, and Donalc 
Ban was taken prisoner. Next morning, contrary tc 
custom, there was no pipe-music at the Jacobite quarters 
When Lord Lewis and his officers enquired the reason, r 
they were told that, so long as MacCrimmon was a ; 
prisoner there would be no pipes played. On hearing this : 
Lord Lewis at once ordered that Donald Ban should be | 
set free. Not long afterwards, however, MacCrimmon ? 
met his fate. He was one of the party sent out by Lord ; 
Loudon from Inverness to seize Prince Charles as he lay 
unguarded at Moy Hall, the residence of the Mackintosh 
chief. The raid was turned into a rout bv the strategy f 
of Lady Mackintosh and the courage of the blacksmith' 
of Moy with two or three clansmen, and in the confusion 


and flight Donald Ban was slain. His death is com- 
memorated in the affecting lament which goes by his 
name, the finest of all bagpipe laments, Ha til mi tulidh, 

We return no more." 

Following the last Jacobite rising, the Act of Parlia- 
ment of 1748, which abolished hereditary jurisdictions, 
and the retaining of pipers and other followers by the 
chiefs, sounded the knell of MacCrimmon's greatness. 
The lands which they had held as an endowment of their 
office were resumed by the Chiefs of Macleod. Deprived 
of their independence and prestige they dwindled and 
disappeared. On the departure of the last of them to 
Greenock with the intention of emigrating to Canada, he 
is said to have composed the touching lament, above re- 
ferred to, Ha til, ha til, ha til, Mhic Chruimin, " No more, 
no more, no more, MacCrimmon." He got no further 
than Greenock, however, for the love of the home of his 
fathers drew him back to Sk^e. This individual, Donald 
Dubh, died in 1822 at the great age of 91. 

Following the vogue set by the MacCrimmons, the 
pipers of the Highland chiefs have attracted the attention 
of every notable visitor to the Highlands. Dr. Samuel 
Johnson was struck by the performance of the piper of 
Maclean of Coll, and Sir Walter Scott in the journal of 
his voyage to the Hebrides in 1814 describes with evident 
appreciation the escort of Macleod of Macleod himself at 
Dunvegan. " Return to the castle," he writes, " take 
our luncheon, and go aboard at three, Macleod accom- 
panying us in proper style with his piper. We take leave 
of the castle, where we have been so kindly entertained, 
with a salute of seven guns. The chief returns ashore, 
with his piper playing ' The Macleods' Gathering,' heard 
to advantage along the calm and placid loch, and dying 
as it retreated from us." 

In early times the piper was one of the principal mem- 
bers of the " luchdtachd " or personal body-guard of ten 
men who attended a chief. These men were as ready to 
fight as to furnish other services, and there is in existence 
a composition by the piper of Cluny Macpherson, In which 
he regrets that he has not three arms so that he might 
wield the sword while he played the clansmen to battle. 
In more recent days the Dukes of Kent and Sussex, sons 
of George III., each adopted the fashion of having a 
household piper; and the Duke of Kent's daughter, 
Queen Victoria, at Balmoral, followed the example of the 
Highland lairds in the same manner. To-day there are 
many societies and clubs in our cities for the preservation 


and practice of pipe-music, and few things could be more 
impressive than the appearance, at civic banquets and the 
banquets of the clan societies, of the pipers, splendidly 
attired and marching with inimitable swing as they pla' 
the appropriate point of war at the climax of the feast 
The pipes, too, have made an immense sensation or 
occasions such as the funeral of Professor Blackie, wher 
they headed the cortege down the aisles of St. Giles 
Cathedral with the heart-searching lament for " Th( 
Flowers o' the Forest." 

For a very large part of the effectiveness of pipe-music 
and the vogue which has made it so inspiring a featun 
of Highland life and manners the country is without doub 
indebted to the famous race of the MacCrimmons, 
hereditary pipers to the Chiefs of Macleod. These piper* 
had a method peculiar to themselves, of writing down the 
pipe-music in words. A collection of this was published 
in 1828 by Captain Neil MacLeod of Gesto. Though t 
the ordinary eye it looks like nonsense, it was read an< 
played from as late as 1880 by the I^uke of Argyll's piper 
Duncan Ross. 



BADGE : Fraoch gonn (erica yulgaris) common heath. 
PIBROCH : Ceann na Drochaide moire. 

THIS small clan, which was anciently settled on the shores 
of Loch Fyne, is believed to have come of the great race 
of the MacDonalds. The belief is supported by the fact 
that the badge of the MacDonalds and the MacColls is 
the same, a sprig of common heather. According to the 
Gaelic manuscript of 1450 so largely quoted by W. F. 
Skene in his Highlanders of Scotland, the MacDonalds 
derived their earliest known origin from Colla Uais, an 
Irish king of the fourth century. No doubt following 
this tradition the great clan of the Isles was in early times 
known alternatively as Clan Colla and Clan Cuin or 
Conn, the latter name being derived from Constantine, 
the father of Colla. Coll has accordingly always been a 
favourite name among the MacDonalds. Among the 
most notable holders of it was the lieutenant of the Great 
Marquess of Montrose in the Civil Wars of Charles I., 
who was known as Colkitto, or Coll Ciotoch MacDonald. 
Of this Left-handed Coll, as his name implies, many 
stories are told. It was he who brought over the Irish 
contingent, and acted as its leader throughout the Mar- 
quess' campaign. On his way along the coast after 
landing, he sent a piper to ascertain the defences of Dun- 
trune castle on the shore of Loch Crinan. The piper not 
only found the stronghold in a complete state of defence 
but was himself made prisoner in one of the turrets. His 
pipes, however, were left to him, and he seized the 
opportunity to blow out the well-known tune " Shun the 
Tower." Colkitto took the hint, and, leaving the piper 
to his fate, marched off to join Montrose. Later, when 
a prisoner, and about to be hanged from the mast of his 
galley at Dunstaffnage, he begged that he might be buried 
under the doorstep of the little chapel there, in order that 
he might " exchange a snuff with the Captain of 
Dunstaffnage in the grave." 

Clan MacColl, however, dates from a much earlier 
time than that of Colkitto. Previous to the time of the 
battle of Glenfruin, in 1602, they appear to have been of 



some strength. But, like other small clans within the 
reach" of the Campbells, they were liable to be used by 
the somewhat unscrupulous chiefs of that powerful family 
as instruments in the Campbell policy of aggression and 
aggrandisement. By means which are not quite clear 
they were, along with the Colquhouns and other clans, 
induced to embroil themselves against the MacGregors. 
On the other hand, the MacGregor chiefs, to meet the 
forces which were secretly being accumulated and insti- 
gated against them by the crafty Argyll and Glenurchy, 
made an effort to secure support from other clans, like 
the MacAulays and Macphersons. When matters came 
to a climax, on the eve of the battle of Glenfruin, Alastair 
MacGregor sent word hotfoot to Cluny Macpherson, who 
sent off fifty picked warriors from Badenoch to his 
support. These men, however, had marched no further 
than Blair in Athol when they received word that the 
MacGregors were victorious, having signally defeated the 
Colquhouns and their allies in Glenfruin. They accord- 
ingly turned back and marched for home. On the way, 
as they crossed the wild Pass of Drumochter, the highest 
point of the road between Athol and Badenoch, as luck 
would have it they encountered the MacColls returning 
from a foray in Ross or Sutherland, and driving a 
creagh before them. Apart from their alliance with the 
MacGregors the Macphersons had a quarrel of their own 
with the MacColls, and they forthwith seized the oppor- 
tunity to clear off all scores. The battle took place on 
the shore of Loch Garry, and resulted in complete victory 
for the Macphersons. While very few of Clan Vurich 
were slain, the MacColls were almost entirely wiped out, 
losing their chief and nearly all their fighting men. 

One of the decimated clan, Angus Ban MacColl, 
attracted special attention in the fight by his strength and 
dexterity. He was encountered by one of the most valiant 
of the Macphersons, and the two engaged in a mortal 
combat. This desperate struggle of the two continued till 
the MacColls were finally overcome and driven from the 
field. Then, seeing the odds overwhelming against him, 
Angus Ban fought his way, moving backwards, to a deep 
chasm in the hillside, and leaping the abyss backwards 
with astonishing agility effected his escape, none of his 
pursuers being inclined to risk the leap even in the 
ordinary way and with a run. 

Regarding further deeds of the MacColls tradition is 
silent. Whatever they were they were probably achieved 
in conjunction with their powerful neighbours, the Camp- 


i bells, and in their case it may be hoped that the adage 
was true, " Happy is the nation that has no history! " 
A hundred years ago one of the clan, Evan MacColl, 
introduced the name into another field by publishing a 
volume of poems of considerable merit under the title of 
" Clarsach nam Beann," or " The Mountain Harp." 
Yet another member of the clan was Alexander McCaul, 
D.D., who in 1821 was sent to Poland by the London 
Society for Christianising the Jews, who, after his return 
to London published a weekly journal, Old Paths, dealing 
with Jewish ritual, became Principal of the Hebrew 
College in 1840, and afterwards Professor of Hebrew and 
Divinity in King's College, and a prebendary of St. 


BADGE : Fraoch gorm (erica vulgaris) common heath. 
SLOGAN : Fraoch Eilean. 

PIBROCH : Dhonuill Dhui' (1503) ; and Donald Balloch's March to 
Inverlochy (1431). 

A UNIQUE and important place in Scottish history, and 
particularly in the history of the Hebrides and the south- 
western Highlands, is occupied by the great figure of 
Somerled of the Isles. " Somerledi," or summer sailors, 
is said to have been the term applied to the Norwegian 
adventurers, whose raids upon the coasts of this country 
were usually made during the pleasanter months of the 
year; but so far as history is concerned the name is that 
of the great island lord who reigned as an independent 
prince of the West and the Isles throughout the middle of 
the twelfth century. It is generally asserted in the High- 
land genealogies of to-day that Somerled was a Celtic 
chief by whose efforts the Norsemen had been driven 
from the mainland of Scotland, and who had wrested the 
islands of the west from the Norwegian Olaf, King of 
Man, before setting himself up as King of the Isles and 
Lord of Argyll; but the facts of history make it appear 
more likely that he was himself a Norseman, and we know 
his wife was Effrica daughter of Olaf of Man. When the 
High Steward, settled at Renfrew for the purpose by 
David I. of Scotland, began to drive back the Norse 
invaders who were then thrusting their settlements into 
the higher reaches of the Firth of Clyde, his chief 
opponent was this Somerled of the Isles. The climax of 
the struggle between them was reached in 1164, when 
Somerled landed a great force on the shores of Renfrew- 
shire, and fought a pitched battle with the forces of the 
High Steward near the headquarters of the latter at 
Renfrew itself. In that battle Somerled fell, along with 
Gillecolane, his son by his first marriage, and it seems 
possible that the Barochan Cross, with its interesting and 
appropriate sculptures, still standing near the scene of the 
battle, forms a memorial of the event. 

Somerled is said to have left a grandson, Somerled, 
son of Gillecolane, who inherited Argyll but was defeated 


and slain by Alexander II. in 1221, also three sons by his 
second marriage, Dugald to whom he left Lome and 
his more northern possessions and who became ancestor 
of the MacDougalls of Lome, Reginald who obtained 
Kintyre, Cowal, Isla, Arran, and Bute, and a third son 
Angus, who obtained the great Lordship of Garmoran, 
the actual bounds of which are not now certain. It is 
from the younger son Reginald, that the MacDonalds of 
the Isles and all the branches of the name are descended. 
Reginald had two sons who between them, in the year 
12 10, slew their uncle Angus, and possessed themselves 
of his patrimony of Garmoran. The elder of the two, 
Donald, succeeded his father in possession of Kintyre 
and the outer Isles, and carried on the main line of the 
race. The younger brother, Roderick, got Bute, Arran, 
and Garmoran. It is probably he who figures in the 
legend of Rothesay Castle enshrined in the ballad of 
"The Bluidy Stair." We know at any rate that the 
struggle for the possession of Bute and its stronghold went 
on between the Stewarts and the descendants of Somerled 
with varying fortunes till about the time of the battle of 
Largs in 1263. The last of the line of Roderick or Ruari, 
was Amy, the first wife of John, Chief of Clan Donald 
and Lord of the Isles, of whom more presently. 

Donald's son was known as Angus Mor, and his son 
again as Angus Og. The latter took Bruce's side in the 
War of Succession, and it is he who figures as the hero, 
accordingly, in Sir Walter Scott's last great poem, The 
Lord of the Isles. As a matter of history, recorded by 
Archdeacon Barbour in his Bruce, Angus Og received and 
sheltered Bruce in his stronghold of Dunaverty at the 
south end of Kintyre, when the king was on his way south- 
ward in 1306, to shelter in the Island of Rachryn. From 
the chronicler's method of telling the tale it does not 
appear as if Bruce felt himself perfectly safe while 
enjoying that hospitality. In the following Spring, 
however, it was with the help of Christina of the Isles 
that Bruce organised his expedition for the return to 
Scotland. The historian Tytler, quoting the chronicler 
Fordoun, describes how a chief named Donald of the Isles 
raised the men of Galloway against Bruce in 1308, and was 
defeated and taken prisoner on the banks of the Dee on 
29th June by the king's brother. But Fordoun seems to 
have confounded the Islesman with some lieutenant of 
MacDougal of Lome. As a result of his support of 
Bruce, Angus Og received, as additions to his territories, 
Morvern, Ardnamurchan . and Lochaber, which had 


previously belonged to the MacDougals, but had been 
forfeited because of that family's siding with the Corny ns 
against the King. 

John, Lord of the Isles, son of Angus Og, further 
raised the power of his family by marrying his cousin, 
Amie MacRuarie, heiress of the line of Roderick, 
Reginald's younger son. By her he got Garmoran and 
had two sons, Ranald and Godfrey. From the former 
of these are descended the houses of Glengarry and 
Clanranald, which to the present day put forward against 
the MacDonalds of the Isles claims to the supreme chief- 
ship of the great MacDonald Clan. John, Lord of the 
Isles, however, appears to have repudiated or divorced his 
first wife, Amie MacRuarie, and to have married, under 
a dispensation dated 1350, Margaret, daughter of the 
seventh High Steward, afterwards King Robert II. By 
her he had three sons, Donald, John, and Alexander, and 
by reason, it is believed, that they were the king's grand- 
sons, the eldest of the three was preferred to the succession 
to the Lordship of the Isles. At the same time, by way 
of compensation, their mother's inheritance, comprising 
the ancient lordship of Garmoran, was secured to the sons 
of the first wife. Of the three sons by the second wife, 
John became ancestor to the Earl of Antrim, and Alexander 
to the MacDonalds of Keppoch. 

Meanwhile the old Chief, John of the Isles, had again 
and again shown his haughty spirit. In 1368 he refused 
to attend the Scottish Parliament and submit to the laws 
of the realm, and though he was forced to submit after- 
wards in person to King David II. himself at Inverness, 
this spirit was carried further by his successor. Almost 
immediately the arbitrary setting aside of the sons of the 
first marriage of John, Lord of the Isles, was to produce 
results the horror of which Scotland has not yet forgotten. 

Donald, the eldest son of the second marriage, who at 
his father's death in 1380 became Lord of the Isles, married 
Margaret, daughter of Euphemia, Countess of Ross, in 
her own right. Margaret's brother, Alexander, Earl of 
Ross, married a daughter of the Regent Duke of Albany 
and died about the year 1406. As the only child of this 
marriage, another Countess Euphemia, was a nun, the 
Lord of the Isles proceeded to claim the Earldom of Ross 
in right of his wife. The Duke of Albany, however, 
secured from the nun-countess a resignation of the earldom 
in favour of his second son, John, Earl of Buchan, and 
rejected the claim of his nephew of the Isles. As a result, 
in 1411 Donald allied himself with England, raised an 


army of ten thousand men, took possession of the disputed 
earldom, and, marching southward with great rapidity, 
destroying the country as he went, penetrated as far as 
Inverury, less than twenty miles from Aberdeen. There 
he was met by his cousin, Alexander, Earl of Mar, son of 
the Wolf of Badenoch and nephew of Albany, at the head 
of an army of Lowland gentlemen. Mar's army was much 
smaller than that of the Island Lord, but it was infinitely 
better armed and disciplined. The battle, fought on St. 
James's Eve, 24th July, and remembered as Red Harlaw, 
proved disastrous to both sides, but the Highland advance 
was checked, Donald retired to his island fastnesses, and, 
being followed up by Albany, was compelled at Loch Gilp 
to relinquish the earldom and give up all claim to 
independent sovereignty in the Isles. 

Donald of the Isles died in 1420, but his son Alexander, 
Lord of the Isles, by reason of the injustice which had 
been done to his family, appears to have remained a 
danger to the State. King James I., after the return from 
his long captivity in England in 1424, called a meeting 
of the Highland chiefs at Inverness, and arrested the most 
dangerous and powerful of them. While some of them 
were executed on the spot, others, including Alexander of 
the Isles and his mother the Countess of Ross, were 
thrown into prison. After a short confinement the Island 
Lord, who was the King's cousin once removed, was set 
free, but no sooner did he find himself once more in his 
native territory than his fury at the insult he had received 
burst forth, and, gathering the whole strength of Ross and 
the Isles, he burst upon the country, greviously wasting 
the Crown lands, and burning to the ground the royal 
burgh of Inverness. The King, however, instantly raised 
an army, marched into the Highlands, and encountered 
the Lord of the Isles in Lochaber. As the battle began 
Clan Chattan and Clan Cameron passed over to the side 
of the king, and the island lord saw his army put to utter 
rout. In the style of an independent prince he sent an 
ambassador to sue for peace; but this presumption merely 
incensed the monarch, who vigorously prosecuted the 
campaign against him ; and presently, driven to desperate 
straits, the chief was forced to throw himself upon the 
royal mercy. Clad only in shirt and drawers, he appeared 
suddenly before the king at the high altar in Holyrood 
chapel. There, holding a naked sword by the point, he 
fell upon his knees, and, delivering it to the king, implored 
forgiveness. He was instantly committed to Tantallon 
Castle, while his mother was imprisoned in the monastery 


of Inch Colme in the Firth of Forth. Meanwhile his 
kinsman, Donald Balloch, enraged at his chief's sub- 
mission, gathered a fleet and army, descended upon 
Lochaber, and at Inverlochy cut to pieces a royal army 
under Alexander, Earl of Mar, and Alan Stewart, Earl of 
Caithness, and carried off immense plunder. He fled to 
Ireland, but was betrayed by a petty chief, who cut off 
his head and sent it to King James. 

After a year's imprisonment the Lord of the Isles and 
his mother were restored to their liberty and possessions. 
At that time Alexander of the Isles seems to have estab- 
lished his character of loyalty to the Government, for 
after the murder of James I. in 1437, he became Justiciary 
of the Kingdom north of the Firth of Forth. His title as 
Earl of Ross appears to have been fully recognised after 
the death of his mother, and he thus held vast power on 
the mainland of Scotland, as well as in the Isles. This 
power was increased by his marriage with Elizabeth Seton, 
sister of Alexander, first Earl of Huntly. The old desire 
for independent sovereignty seems, however, to have 
lingered in his mind, for in 1445 he joined in a secret 
league with the Earls of Douglas and Crawford against 
King James II. The rebellion which these three Earls 
meditated could hardly have failed, owing to their immense 
power in the north and south of Scotland, in overthrowing 
the royal house, had it not been for the singular shrewd- 
ness, energy, and determination of the young James II. 
himself, backed by the ability of the Chancellor Crichton. 

Alexander of the Isles died in May, 1449, at which time 
his son John, destined to be last of the Lords of the Isles, 
was no more than fifteen years of age. He, however, 
inherited and carried on the treasonous league with the 
Earls of Douglas and Crawford, and his disloyalty was 
probably increased by the fact that he married a daughter 
of Lord Livingstone, head of the house that so long kept 
the boy King James II. prisoner and was finally so 
suddenly and completely overwhelmed and destroyed by 
him. The King, however, in 1451, felt himself strong 
enough to do battle with his enemies, and the first 
results of the treasonous league were the slaughter of 
William, Earl of Douglas, by James's own hand in 
Stirling Castle, and the overthrow of the Tiger Earl of 
Crawford by the Earl of Huntly in a bloody battle near 
Brechin. Amid the general upheaval the young Lord of 
the Isles and Earl of Ross rushed to arms, and seized 
the royal castles of Inverness, Urquhart, and Ruthven in 
Badenoch; but his success was short-lived, being check- 



Facing page 236. 


mated by the Earl of Huntly, whom the King made 
Lieutenant-General of the kingdom in place of the Karl 
of Douglas. James II. then sought to turn his enemirs 
into friends. On the Tiger Earl of Crawford appearing 
bare-headed and bare-footed before him, and imploring 
pardon, he freely forgave him. On James, brother and 
successor of the late Earl of Douglas, he bestowed the 
hand of that Earl's child widow, the Fair Maid of 
Galloway, greatest Scottish heiress of her time. And he 
also took into favour the young Lord of the Isles, who was 
his own distant kinsman. The Douglases, nevertheless, 
were soon again in rebellion. Finally, on Carron Water, 
forty thousand strong, they stood face to face with the 
royal army, and it looked as if the pending battle should 
decide whether James Stewart or James Douglas should 
wear the crown. The Earl, however, showed a fatal hesita- 
tion to attack. In consequence during the night his great 
army melted away, not a hundred men remaining to him 
in the morning, and Douglas himself became a fugitive 
in England. Twenty years later, in a small incursion on 
the Border, he surrendered to Kirkpatrick of Closeburn, 
and he ended his days as a monk in the Fifeshire Abbey 
of Lindores in 1488. 

An almost similar fate befell the Lord of the Isles. In 
the cause of the Earl of Douglas, who had fled to him after 
the battle of Arkinholme, he got together a hundred galleys 
and five thousand men, which, under his kinsman, a 
second Donald Balloch, Lord of Isla, 1 ravaged Inverkip, 
Bute, Cowal, and Arran, and carried off 600 horse, 10,000 
cattle and 1,000 sheep. Shortly afterwards, however, 
Douglas was driven into exile, and his ally, the Earl of 
Crawford, died. The Lord of the Isles then became 
alarmed at the fate which might overtake himself, and 
made a humble submission to the king. After some 
hesitation, James relented so far as to allow the humbled 
chief a period of probation in which he might show the 
reality of his repentance by some notable exploit. To this 
end the island lord brought a powerful body of his vassals 
to assist the king at the siege of Roxburgh in 1460. But 
at the opening of the siege the king was killed by the 
bursting of a cannon, and, taking advantage of the 
weakness of the Government, the Lord of the Isles was 
soon in open rebellion again. In October, 1461, at his 
castle of Artornish on the sound of Mull he, along with 

1 Son of John of Isla, brother of Donald of the Isles. Through 
his mother he inherited the Glens in Antrim. 


Donald Balloch and his son John de Isla, entered into a 
treaty with Edward IV. of England by which, in considera- 
tion of an annual pension, he agreed to become a vassal 
to the crown of England, and to help the English King 
and James, Earl of Douglas, then in banishment, to subdue 
the realm of Scotland. Following this treaty the Lord 
of the Isles declared himself King of the Hebrides and 
assembled an army which, under the command of his 
natural son Angus and of Donald Balloch, seized 
Inverness Castle, marched with fire and sword through 
Atholl, stormed the Castle of Blair, and carried off the 
Earl and Countess of Atholl to imprisonment in Islay. 
But a fearful storm which sunk most of the war galleys 
was taken by the leader, Angus, as an evidence of the 
wrath o heaven for his violation of the chapel of St. 
Bridget in which he had seized the Earl and Countess, 
and he presently set free his prisoners, returned his 
plunder, and with his principal leaders did bare-foot 
penance at the desecrated shrine. Not long afterwards, 
at a meeting of the clansmen north of Inverness to settle 
some quarrel regarding the boundaries of his land, Angus 
was murdered by his own harper, MacCaibhre, who cut 
his throat with a long knife. 

For his part in these transactions the Lord of the Isies 
was attainted in 1475. In the following year he surrendered 
and, being restored to his forfeited estates, resigned them 
to the King. The Earldom of Ross was then annexed to 
the Crown, James III. making one of his sons Duke of 
Ross, while Kintyre and Knapdale were forfeited and 
afterwards passed into possession of the Earl of Argyll. 
The rest of MacDonald's estates were regranted to the 
island lord, and he was made a lord of Parliament, with 
remainder, failing lawful heirs, to his natural sons, Angus 
Og and John, and their male issue. In 1493, however, 
when King James IV. paid his great visit to the Western 
Isles, it was to punish the great MacDonald Chief, who 
had seen fit to defy the royal authority, or at least to 
countenance his nephew Alexander of Lochalsh in doing 
so, Lochalsh 's idea being to recover the Earldom of Ross 
for his family. After ravaging the Black Isle, belonging 
to Urquhart, King James' sheriff of Cromarty, Lochalsh 
was overthrown by the Mackenzie Chief at the battle 
of Blar na Pairc in Strathconan. Immediately, with 
characteristic energy, James summoned John of the Isles 
to stand his trial for treason. In a Parliament in Edin- 
burgh he was stripped of all power, as a favour he 
was allowed to retire to the abbey of Paisley, and 


according to the Treasurer's Accounts, he died at Dundee 
in 1502-3. 

This chief was in reality the last of the Celtic Lords of 
the Isles; but his house was not to be crushed without a 
struggle. His son Angus Og had married a daughter of 
the first Earl of Argyll, head of the house which for over a 
hundred years had been little by little ousting and sup- 
planting the ancient race of Somerled. In order to further 
his plan, Argyll kept the wife of Angus Og within his 
power at his castle of Inchconnel in Loch Awe, and when 
her son Donald Dhu was born he was kept a close prisoner 
in that stronghold. During the long imprisonment of this 
unfortunate chief the MacDonalds wasted their strength in 
fierce feuds among themselves, Maclan of Ardnamurchan 
slaying the whole race of John Mor of the Isles and 
Kintyre except one Alexander, son of John Cattanach, 
who in the end married his daughter. 

Donald had been a prisoner for thirty years when the 
encroachments of the Earl of Argyll became intolerable 
to the Islesmen. Having obtained a commission as 
Lieutenant, Argyll proceeded to expel the ancient pro- 
prietors and their vassals, to annul the charters even of 
recent years, and to grant the hereditary property of the 
Islesman to his own followers. In their time of trouble 
the thoughts of the Islesmen turned to Donald Dhu. A 
small force, led by the Maclans of Glencoe, broke into the 
dungeon on Inchconnel, freed the captive, and carried 
him safely to the castle of Torquil MacLeod in the Lews. 
The Islesmen then rose, burst into Badenoch with fire 
and sword, burned Inverness, and threatened the whole 
power of the Crown in the north. The entire military 
force of the Kingdom was called out, while a naval 
squadron under Sir Andrew Wood and Robert Barton 
was sent to reduce the castles of the Island Chiefs; but 
the rebellion was only put down when in 1506 James 
himself led an army into the North. The Earl of Huntly 
burned Torquil MacLeod's castle of Stornoway, and 
Donald Dhu, who had so recently been freed from his life- 
long imprisonment, only escaped to Ireland to die soon 

Alexander, Lord of the Isles and Earl of Ross, however, 
had left two natural sons. Of these the elder was Celestine 
of Lochalsh, and Celestine's grandson, Donald Gallda, 
was the father of that Alexander of Lochalsh whose 
rebellion in 1493 brought about the final downfall of his 
uncle, John of the Isles. The Earl of Huntly was then 
exercising great power in the western Highlands and 


Hebrides, and as part of a scheme for counteracting this 
his rival, the Earl of Moray, instigated Donald Gallda to 
make a claim to the Lordship of the Isles. Huntly was 
in possession of the Lews, and Sir John Campbell o 
Cawdor, brother of the second Earl of Argyll, had obtainec 
Islay, the chief ancient seat of the Lords of the Isles 
Hoping they had found a leader against these invaders 
MacLeod of the Lews and many of the gentry of the 
Isles joined Donald Gallda. The force was met a 
Ardnamurchan by Alexander, son of John Cattanach 
above referred to, who at last saw a means of avenging 
the overthrow of his house upon his father-in-law, Maclan 
of Ardnamurchan. They came upon the latter at a place 
called the Silver Craig, and there Maclan and his three 
sons with a great number of his people were slain 
Donald Gallda was thereupon declared MacDonald of the 
Isles, and, according to the extract of the family chronicle 
printed by Sir Walter Scott in the notes to his poem, al 
the men of the Isles yielded to him. Had he lived anc 
had heirs he might have renewed the fortunes of his house 
for in September of that year the battle of Flodden was 
fought, and the great nobles of Scotland had other things 
to do than attend to risings in the distant Isles of the West 
But Donald Gallda lived only for seven or eight weeks 
after being declared Lord of the Isles, and died at 
Carnaborg in Mull without issue. 

The continuation of the line now fell to Hugh the 
second natural son, or a son perhaps by a handfast 
marriage, of Alexander of the Isles. His mother was a 
daughter of the last lay abbot of Applecross, and it was 
through her that Alexander of the Isles had acquired 
Lochalsh and Loch Carron. In 1495 Hugh obtained 
from his half-brother, John of the Isles, a charter 
conveying to him, with other lands, the district of Sleat in 
Skye, which remains the patrimony of his descendants to 
the present day. He was succeeded in turn by his two sons, 
John and Donald Balloch, the latter of whom was killed 
in 1506 by an illegitimate brother, Archibald. Donald 
Balloch's grandson, Donald Gorm, laid claim to the lord- 
ship of the Isles, and in 1539, in support of his pretension, 
laid siege to Eilandonan, the seat of the MacKenzie chief, 
but was shot dead from the battlements. Donald Gorm's 
great-grandson, still another Donald MacDonald, was in 
1625 created a baronet of Nova Scotia by Charles I. His 
patent contained a special clause of precedency, declaring 
him to be second only to Gordon of Gordonstown, in 
the order of Baronets. His son Sir James, the second 


baronet, joined the Marquess of Montrose in his fast and 
furious campaign in favour of Charles I. in 1644. At the 
same time it cannot be forgotten that it was Alastair 
MacDonald, of the Earl of Antrim's family, who enabled 
Montrose to begin his campaign, by bringing over 1,800 
Irish troops. When Montrose was finally defeated at 
Philiphaugh, the Marquess of Argyll, then at the head of 
the Government, took the opportunity of dealing his old 
family enemies a knockout blow, and sent a Covenanting 
army to destroy the MacDonald stronghold of Dunaverty 
and massacre the garrison, numbering 300. 

Sir James MacDonald, notwithstanding the losses he 
had suffered, sent a force to join the cause of Charles II. 
when that young monarch, six year later, marched into 
England to the battle of Worcester. 

The third baronet married Lady Mary Douglas, second 
daughter (and only child to leave issue) of the tenth Earl 
of Morton, and the fourth baronet, joining the Earl of 
Mar's rebellion in 1715, was attainted. It was in the time 
of Sir Almond, the seventh Baronet, that the great rising 
of the Clans under Prince Charles Edward occurred. In 
this MacDonald of the Isles took no part, and at Culloden 
those of the name were commanded by MacDonald of 
Keppoch. On that occasion the MacDonalds considered 
themselves affronted. According to tradition, for their 
valour at Bannockburn they had been granted the honour 
always to lead on the right of the Scottish army. 
At Culloden this was refused. As a result the clan 
did not join in the first charge, and its leader Keppoch 
fell, crying " Have the children of my tribe forsaken 
me? " 

Sir James the eighth baronet was one of the greatest 
scholars and mathematicians of his time, and it was his 
brother, Sir Alexander MacDonald, who in 1776 was 
raised to the Irish peerage with the title of Baron Mac- 
Donald of Slate, County Antrim. The fact of the peerage 
being Irish was probably accounted for in part by the 
circumstance that for several centuries Lord MacDonald's 
ancestors had owned the Glinns in County Antrim, as well 
as their estates in the Hebrides. Lord MacDonald's wife 
was the eldest daughter of Godfrey Bosville of Gunthwaite 
in Yorkshire, and granddaughter maternally of Sir William 
Wentworth, Bart., of Bretton, from which fact the Lords 
MacDonald have since that time included Wentworth in 
their names. 

Lord MacDonald's second son, Godfrey, a Major- 
General in the army, further assumed the name of Bosville, 
VOL. I. 9 

but dropped it when on his elder brother's death he 
succeeded to the title as third Lord MacDonald. 

A curious thing now seems to have happened 
Godfrey, third Lord MacDonald, who was also eleventh 
baronet, married on 5th December, 1803, Louisa Maria de 
la Coast, a natural daughter of H.R.H. the Duke of 
Gloucester, brother of George III., and had an eldest son, 
Alexander William Robert, born in the year 1800. This 
son assumed the name of Bosville by royal licence, 
pursuant to the will of his uncle, William Bosville of 
Thorpe and Gunthwaite, who made him his heir. On the 
assumption, however, it would appear, that there was a 
bar to his succeeding his father, the peerage was inherited 
by Lord MacDonald's second son, Godfrey William 
Wentworth MacDonald, whose grandson, Ronald Archi- 
bald MacDonald, is the present and sixth baron. It was 
not until 1910 that the grandson of Alexander William 
Robert brought an action in the Court of Session. By 
decree of that court on I4th June it was declared that 
Alexander William Robert MacDonald had been the eldest 
son of Sir Godfrey MacDonald, third baron and eleventh 
baronet, and accordingly the rightful heir to the family 
honours. His grandson is now therefore Sir Alexander 
Wentworth MacDonald Bosville MacDonald, fourteenth 
baronet. In bringing his action he declared that he made 
no claim to the family peerage. He, however, is acknow- 
ledged to be MacDonald of the Isles. 

Such is the strange story of a great ancient race. On 
the Island of Finlagan in Islay are still to be seen the relics 
of barbaric state amid which the Lords of the Isles for 
centuries were installed with regal ceremonies, and ruled 
with regal power. That power has long since passed 
away, but the blood of Somerled still runs in the veins of 
these heirs of the great MacDonald name. 


Beath Beaton 

Bethune Colson 

Connall Connell 

Darroch Donald 

Donaldson Donillson 

Donnellson Drain 

Galbraith Gilbride 

Gorrie Gowan 

Gowrie Hawthorn 

Hewison Houstoun 

Howison Hughson 

Hutcheonson Hutcheson 























































Mac A* Challies 




















Mac Kean 

















O 'Drain 









BADGE : Fraoch gorm (erica vulgaris) common heath. 
SLOGAN : Dh'aindheoin co theiraidh e, In spite of all opposition. 
PIBROCH : Failte Clann Raonuil, and the Cruinneachadh, or 
Gathering, composed during the rising of 1715. 

WHEN on 25th July, 1745, Prince Charles Edward Stewart, 
on board the Doutelle, French sloop of war, containing 
all his arms and treasure, stood in from the westward 
towards the mainland of Scotland, it was for the country 
of Clanranald that he directly set his course. Already, at 
South Uist, which was one of the island possessions of the 
chief, he had interviewed Macdonald of Boisdale, the 
young Chief's uncle, and had proposed to him to engage 
in his cause not only Clanranald himself, who was known 
to be greatly guided by Boisdale's experience and sagacity, 
but also MacLeod of MacLeod and Sir Alexander Mac- 
Donald of the Isles. Boisdale had assured him that, seeing 
he had not been able to bring with him the French troops, 
arms, and money which the Scottish Jacobites had 
stipulated for, it was absolutely certain that neither Sir 
Alexander MacDonald nor the Laird of MacLeod would 
take arms, and that he was himself determined to advise 
his nephew Clanranald also to remain quiet. Charles, 
however, undeterred by what had been told him, steered in 
for Arisaig, to interview the young chief of Clanranald 

He had sound reason in his own mind for doing this. 
Thirty years earlier, in the Jacobite rising under the Earl 
of Mar, the young Captain of Clanranald of that time 
had been one of the most noted figures, and had sealed 
his loyalty to the Stewart cause with his life at the battle 
of Sheriffmuir. Nor, as the event proved, was Charles 
now mistaken in directing his appeal. Entering the bay 
of Loch nan Uamh, between Moidart and Arisaig, in the 
very heart of the Clanranald country, he apprised the 
young Chief of his arrival, and the latter at once came 
on board, accompanied by his relative, MacDonald of 
Kinlochmoidart and one or two others. Clanranald met 
the Prince's appeal with the same objections as his uncle 
had used, and if he had remained firm, there seems every 
reason to believe that Charles would have accepted his 
answer as conclusive, and would have retired from his 
great adventure. Thus, one of the most romantic and 



Facing page 244. 


tragic episodes of Scottish history would never have taken 
place. But, as the Prince pressed his argument, a young 
brother of Kinlochmoidart, standing by, began to under- 
stand before whom he stood, and to show signs of 
impatience at the attitude taken by his Chief and his 
brother. Charles, noticing this agitation, turned it to 
striking use. Suddenly addressing the young Highlander 
he exclaimed, " You at least, will not forsake me. " I," 
said the young Highlander, grasping his sword, " I will 
follow you to the death, were there no other to strike a 
blow in your cause." His enthusiasm fired the Chief, who 
thereupon declared that, since the Prince was determined, 
he would no longer withstand his pleasure. Charles then 
landed, and was conducted to the House of Borodale, one 
of Clanranald's followers, and the great enterprise was 
begun which was to leave such a mark on the memories, 
character, and poetry of Scotland. 

Clanranald could at that time put between 700 and 
800 men into the field, and his country was perhaps the 
best suited of ajiy in Scotland for the beginning of so wild 
and desperate an undertaking as that of the Jacobite 
Prince. It has been called the Highlands of the High- 
lands, and its wild mountain fastnesses were believed by 
its inhabitants to be utterly inaccessible to any Lowland 
forces till, after Culloden, much to the clansmen's surprise, 
they were actually penetrated by the red soldiers of the 
Butcher Duke of Cumberland. Here, on the south shore 
of Loch-moidart itself, rose on a peninsula which becomes 
an island at high water, the stronghold of Castle Tirim, 
which for ages had been the seat of the Clanranald Chiefs ; 
and perhaps nowhere were the old traditions of devotion 
to the head of the clan more strongly held than among 
these wild mountains and along the shores of these sternly 
beautiful sea-lochs and islands of Clanranald's country. 

While the part which Clanranald took in furthering 
the project of Prince Charles Edward formed the 
notable and far-reaching event in the history of this 
branch of the great MacDonald clan, the MacDonalds of 
Clanranald of course claim a common share with the 
MacDonalds of the Isles and the MacDonalds of Glengarry 
in the early history of the great MacDonald race. Along 
with the houses of the Isles and of Glengarry they derive 
their descent from the mighty Somerled, King of the Isles 
in the twelfth century. From Donald, son of Somerled 's 
second son, Reginald, they take their common name 
of MacDonald, and from Donald's grandson, Angus 
Og, they derived the right, by the part he took at the 


battle of Bannockburn, of occupying the place of honour 
on the right of the Scottish armies in the hour of battle. 
They share also the memories of descent through Angus 
Og's son, JorTn, first Lord of the Isles; but, while the 
MacDonalds of the Isles are descended from John's second 
wife, Margaret, daughter of King Robert II., the families 
of Clanranald and Glengarry descend from Ranald, third 
son of the Lord of the Isles by his first wife, Amie 
Macruarie, heiress of the line of Roderick, second son of 
Reginald of the Isles above referred to, whom John, Lord 
of the Isles, married about the year 1337. 

In the attempt made in 1491, by Alexander of Lochalsh, 
nephew of John, fourth and last Lord of the Isles, 
to recover the rich Earldom of Ross for his family an 
attempt which brought about the final ruin of his house 
Clanranald of Garmoran played a part, and along with 
the other clans engaged, took Inverness, ravaged the Black 
Isle and Strathconan, and were cut to pieces by the Mac- 
kenzies at the battle of Blair na Park. But Clanranald 
seems to have come out of the strife little harmed. Follow- 
ing the downfall of the Lord of the Isles which followed, 
Clanranald seems to have risen to importance, so as, 
about 1530, to be acknowledged Chief of the name. This 
may have come about by the action of the old Tanist law, 
which entailed succession, not upon the eldest son, but 
upon the eldest able male of a house, an arrangement 
eminently useful in days when the succession of a minor 
laid a clan or a kingdom open to all the distresses of attack 
and plunder by unscrupulous neighbours. 

Almost immediately upon attaining this climax in its 
fortunes the house of Clanranald itself afforded an example 
of the evils of a minority, and the advantages of a succes- 
sion upon Tanist principles. Dougal, who became Chief 
in 1513, the year of the battle of Flodden, proved himself 
highly unacceptable to the chief men of the clan, who, 
goaded at length by some of his acts of oppression and 
cruelty, rose against him and put him to death. At the 
same time they excluded his children from the chiefship, 
and by common consent declared Alastair, his brother, to 
be head of the clan. Alastair died in 1530, whereupon 
John Moidartach of Eilean Tirim, his natural son, who 
was afterward legitimised, showed sufficient address to 
have himself recognised as Chief by the elders of the clan, 
and to secure a title to the estates. The sons of Dougal 
were still too young to dispute the chiefship, but Alastair's 
father, Alan Macruarie, Chief of Clanranald from 1481 to 
1509, had been married a second time, to a daughter of 


Lord Lovat, and an only son by that marriage had been 
brought up by the Fraser chief. This son Ranald, known 
as Gallda or the Foreigner from the circumstances of his 
upbringing, at first also made no attempt to dispute the 
chiefship. But John Moidartach was of a restless dis- 
position, able and daring, and his ambitious enterprises 
by and by brought him into collision with the Government 
of the country. In 1540 he was thrown into prison by 
James V., and upon this happening, the Frasers took 
the opportunity to seize the chiefship and estates of 
Clanranald for their own kinsman, Ranald Gallda. 

Gallda, however, had that worst of all faults in the 
eyes of a Highlander : he was mean in disposition, and 
though he had secured a revocation in his own favour, 
of the titles which had been granted to John Moidartach, 
the clansmen would not acknowledge him as their chief. 
Matters came to a climax early in 1544, when John Moidar- 
tach was released from prison. He returned to Arisaig, 
and was received with great rejoicings by the clan, while 
Ranald Gallda was compelled to flee, and seek refuge with 
his mother's people, the Frasers. 

By way of avenging the injury which had been done 
him in his absence, John Moidartach gathered a force 
consisting of his own men, with the MacDonalds of 
Keppoch and the Camerons, and, marching northward, 
carried fire and sword into the Fraser country as well as 
into Glen Urquhart and Glen Moriston. So great was the 
disturbance that the Earl of Huntly, the King's Lieutenant 
in the north, found it necessary to take action, and with a 
strong force, including the Frasers, the Grants, and the 
Macintoshes, marched against Clanranald. The latter 
retired before the King's Lieutenant, who, without fighting 
a battle, replaced Ranald Gallda in possession of Moidart. 
He then set about to return. In Glen Spean his forces 
divided, Lord Lovat with 400 men, accompanied by Ranald 
Gallda, marching northward along the shores of Loch- 
lochy. As Lovat reached the head of Lochlochy, 
however, he Suddenly saw the forces of John Moidartach 
descending upon him on the front and flank in seven 
columns with pipes playing and banners flying. A 
desperate struggle at once began. It was a blazing day in 
July. In their eagerness the combatants cast their 
clothes, and from this circumstance the encounter is known 
as Blar na leine, the Battle of the Shirts. The slaughter 
was terrible on both sides, among those who fell being 
Lord Lovat himself, his eldest son, and the unlucky 
Ranald Gallda, while of the victorious side it is said there 


were only eight survivors and on the side of the vanquished 
only four. As a result, John Moidartach was firmly 
established as Chief of Clanranald, the Earl of Huntly 
taking no further action in the matter. 

Moidartach was an extraordinary man, and many 
traditions of his deeds were handed down among the 
western clans. In the year after the battle of Blar na leine, 
when Mary Queen of Scots was three years old, and 
Henry VIII. of England was prosecuting his rough wooing 
of her for his son, afterwards Edward VI., by means of 
fire and sword on the Border and the expedition of the 
Earl of Lennox to the Western Isles, John Moidartach 
was one of the Council of the Isles which empowered two 
commissioners to treat with the English King. For their 
parts in this transaction, the Captain of Clan Cameron and 
Ranald MacDonald of Keppoch, both of whom had taken 
part at the battle of Blar na leine, were seized and 
beheaded, but John Moidartach obtained a pardon in 
1548. In the end John Moidartach managed to transmit 
the chiefship to his own son, and as an evidence of his 
greatness the clansmen for generations preserved his skull 
with reverent regard in the chapel of lonain Island. 

In the matter of feuds and raids the MacDonalds of 
Clanranald were evidently no better than their neighbours. 
In an Act of Parliament of 1594, in which a list is given 
of " Wickit thevis and lymmaris " guilty of " barbarous 
cruelties and daylie heirschippis," the name of the clan 
appears along with those of Clan Chattan, Clan Cameron, 
and others. Eight years later, in 1602, in two Acts of 
Parliament, MacRanald appears among those ordered to 
help the Queen of England in her Irish wars, and to 
practise their weapons regularly at Weaponschaws. 

Clanranald, however, was also noted for the more 
enlightened interests of its chiefs. The family was famous 
for retaining among its followers a race of bards and 
sennachies. This family, the MacVuirichs, held a good 
farm on condition of preserving the history of the clan 
and the compositions of the great poets of the Gael. As 
early as the battle of Harlaw in 1411 one of their poets, 
Lachlan, poured forth, to animate the clan, a most stirring 
composition, remarkable for its energy and amazing 
alliteration. In the latter part of the eighteenth century, 
Neil MacVourich, the bard and sennachy of Clanranald, 
reckoned his descent through eighteen unbroken genera- 
tions. Neil was entirely ignorant of English, but 
treasured the possession of two collections of Gaelic 
writings known respectively as the Red Book, and the 


Black Book of Clanranald. When in 1760 James 
MacPherson, the translator of Ossian, was searching the 
Highlands for the remains of Gaelic poetry, one of these 
books was lent him by command of Clanranald, and was 
made much use of in the production of the translation. 

To the present hour the dispute remains unsettled as 
to who is the supreme Chief of the name of MacDonald 
In the case of each of the three great claimants there arc 
conflicting circumstances to be taken into account. The 
day has gone by when the rival claimants to such an 
honour felt impelled to prosecute their claim of precedence 
with all the powers of the law and the sword. It is 
possible, in view of the debate which took place lately in 
the columns of a well-known West Highland newspaper 
on the question as to whether the last Lord of the Isles 
was actually forfeited by James IV., that the question may 
come again to be of some living and real consequence. 
Meanwhile, it is interesting to know how the three chiefs 
of the Isles, Glengarry, and Clanranald have agreed 
to keep their differences in amicable abeyance. After Sir 
Alexander Bosville MacDonald, Bart., of the Isles, had 
proved before the Court of Session his right to that title 
and chiefship, a document was drawn out which is likely 
to remain unique, and which may be reproduced with 
interest here. This runs as follows : 


" We, the undersigned, Angus Roderick MacDonald, 
otherwise Mac Mhic Ailein, Chief and Captain of Clan 
Ranald, Aeneas Ranald M'Donell, otherwise Mac Mhic 
Alasdair, of Glengarry, and Sir Alexander Wentworth 
MacDonald Bosville MacDonald, otherwise MacDhonuill 
na'n Eilean, of Sleat, Knight Baronet, desire to certify 
and make known by these present letters to the whole 
kin and name of Clan Donald, and to all others whom 
it may concern, that, after full consideration of the matters 
after-mentioned and of the whole writs, evidents, and 
other testimony now available, we have come to the 
conclusions following, videlicet : 

" FIRST : 

" That following upon the forfeiture and death of John 
Lord of the Isles and Earl of Ross, and the death without 
issue in 1545 of his grandson, Donald Dubh, the various 
branches of Clan Donald, of which the Lord of the Isles 
was supreme and undisputed Chief, separated from and 
became independent of one another. 



" That although claims to the supreme Chief ship of 
the whole Clan Donald have been maintained by our 
predecessors, and are still maintained by ourselves, there 
is no evidence that the whole Clan has ever admitted or 
decided in favour of any of the said claims. 
" THIRD : 

" That owing to the change of circumstances and the 
dispersion throughout the world of so many of the kin 
of Clan Donald, it is now impossible for the Clan to give 
any decision on the matter. 

" That as a result of these conflicting claims to the 
supreme Chiefship there have been in the past great 
jealousy and dissension among the different branches of 
the Clan, and in particular among our houses of Clan 
Ranald, Glengarry, and Sleat, whereby great injury and 
prejudice have been suffered by our whole race and kin. 

" With the view of, S6 far as in us lies, putting an end 
to such jealousy and dissension, and enabling the whole 
kin of Clan Donald to join unreservedly in all under- 
takings that may tend to the honour and advantage of 
our name. 

" We, as the Chiefs of our several houses, have agreed 
and hereby agree as follows, videlicet : 
" FIRST : 

" While no one of us in any way abandons his claim 
to the supreme Chiefship of the whole race of Clan Donald 
as justly belonging to him by virtue of his descent, We 
all and each of us agree to cease from active assertion of 
our claims, and we call upon our respective houses and all 
depending thereon to loyally follow and uphold us in so 

" In the event of more than one of us being present 
on any occasion, and the question of pre-eminence and 
precedency within the Clan having to be considered, such 
pre-eminence and precedency shall be peremptorily decided 
for the occasion by lot without prejudice to the permanent 
position and claim of any of us. 
" THIRD : 

In order to remove from controversy a matter which 
has for long given rise to dispute, We, the Chiefs of the 
houses of Glengarry and Clan Ranald, do not purpose 
hereafter to object to the use by Me, the Chief of the 


House of Sleat, of the designation ' n'an Eilean,' or ' Of 
the Isles/ not because we, the Chiefs of the said houses 
ef Clan Ranald and Glengarry, admit that I, the Chief 
of the said house of Sleat, am the nearest and lawful heir 
male of the said John Lord of the Isles and Earl of Ross, 
but solely in respect of the fact that the said designation 
has by custom come to be generally associated with my 
said house of Sleat. 

" IN WITNESS WHEREOF we have signed, sealed, and 
delivered these presents in quadruplicate on the dates 
marked by us respectively under our Signatures, and before 
the witnesses subscribing. 

Signed, Sealed, and delivered by 
Sleat before and in presence 

Godfrey Middleton Bosville 
MacDonald, B.A., Oxon., 
his Son, Thorpe Hall, 

Celia Violet Bosville Mac- 
Donald, Spinster, his 
daughter, Thorpe Hall, 

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered 

by Clanranald before and in 

the presence of 
Ranald D. G. MacDonald (of 

Sanda), 39 Cours du xxx 

Juillet, Bordeaux. 
Mary Louisa MacDonald, wife 

of the above. 

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered 

by Glengarry before and in 

the presence of 
Stair C. Agnew, Barrister-at- 

Law, 4 Paper Buildings, 

Temple, London. 
John C. Montgomerie, Jun., 

Dalmore, Stair, Ayrshire. 



Signed at Thorpe Hall, 

this fifteenth day of July, 1911. 



Signed at Bordeaux, this 
twenty-ninth day of June, 1911. 


Signed at Tuapse, South Russia, 
this tenth day of September, 






















BADGE : Fraoch gorm (erica vulgaris) common heath. 
PIBROCH : Mort Ghlinne Comhann. 

ONE of the wildest and grandest of the glens of Scotland, 
and at the same time, by reason of its tragic memories, 
one of the best known, is that which runs westward from 
the south shore of Loch Leven into the heart of the highest 
mountains of Argyll. The stream which brawls through 
its lonely recesses remains famous in Ossianic poetry 
under the name of Cona, and high in the face of one of 
its mountain precipices is to be seen the opening of a 
cavern said by tradition to have been a retreat of the poet 
Ossian himself. In the twelfth century, along with the 
Isles and a vast extent of the western mainland of Scot- 
land, Glencoe appears to have been a possession of the 
great Somerled, Lord of the Isles, from whom it seems to 
have passed, along with the northern mainland possessions 
of the great lordship, to his eldest son, Dugal, ancestor 
of the MacDougals of Lome and Argyll. In the Wars 
of Succession at the beginning of the fourteenth century 
the two great houses descended from Somerled's sons took 
opposite sides. While the MacDougals took the side of 
Baliol and Comyn, the MacDonalds, descended from 
Somerled's second son, Reginald, took the side of Bruce, 
and Angus Og, Reginald's great-grandson, having dis- 
tinguished himself with his clan at Bannockburn, paved 
the way for his family's rise again to the position of chief 
consequence in the West of Scotland. As an immediate 
reward, Angus Og is said to have obtained from Bruce's 
grandson, King Robert II., the lands of Morvern, 
Ardnamurchan, and Lochaber, forfeited by the Mac- 
Dougals for the part they had taken against Bruce. 
While Angus Og's eldest son, John, succeeded as Lord 
of the Isles, a younger son, Iain Fraoch, appears to have 
settled in Glencoe, to which he further secured the right 
by marrying a daughter of a certain Dugal MacEanreug. 
From Iain Fraoch this sept of the MacDonalds took its 
common name of the Maclans of Glencoe, and from the 
fact that one of its chiefs after the fashion of those early 


^ . 


Facing page 252. 


times, was fostered by a family in Lochaber, it frequently 
received the appellation of Abarach. The race is not to 
be confused with that of Maclain of Ardnamurchan, which 
claimed descent from Iain Sprangaech, a son, not of 
Angus Og, but of his father, Angus Mor. 

While the heads of the great house of MacDonald, the 
four successive Lords of the Isles, themselves, by their 
successive marriages and revolts engaged in undertakings 
which again and again threatened the stability of the 
Scottish throne itself, the chieftains of the lesser tribes of 
the name, like Maclain of Glencoe and Maclain of Ardna- 
murchan, showed a disposition to engage in lawless war- 
like undertakings which were only less dangerous because 
indulged in on a smaller scale. In the days of James VI. 
Maclain of Ardnamurchan bade open defiance to the powers 
of law and order, and, breaking out into actual piracy, be- 
came a terror to much of the west coast of Scotland. The 
story is told of him that on his plundering excursions. 
which took him up the narrow waters of Loch Linnhe, he 
followed the device of painting one side of his galley 
white and the other black, so that those who noticed him 
sailing up the loch to plunder and burn should not recog- 
nise him and waylay him as he sailed down the loch again 
with his spoils on board. 

Though the Maclans of Glencoe disavowed any con- 
nexion with these piratical expeditions of their kinsmen, 
it is to be feared their own record was not less open to 
question. As time went on, and the virile house of 
Campbell rose more and more into power at the expense 
of their older rivals the MacDonalds, these Maclans of 
Glencoe played their own part in that struggle of Monta- 
gues and Capulets. The struggle came to a height in 
the seventeenth century, when the Campbells at last felt 
themselves strong enough to deal their MacDonald rivals a 
knockout blow. In the time of the civil wars of Charles I., 
when that King's general, the Marquess of Montrose, 
had been defeated at Philiphaugh, and the Marquess c 
Argyll, Chief of the Campbells, found himself at the h< 
of the government of Scotland and in possession of des- 
potic power, the latter seized the opportunity to send 
armies of the Covenant to demolish the last stronghc 
of the MacDonalds and MacDougals, burning the 
of the latter at Gylen and Dunnollie near ' 
massacring the garrison of three hundred MacHo, 
in their Castle of' Dunavertie at the south end of Kin 

In these events may be found the reason for 1 
made by the MacDonalds of Glencoe during i 


century which followed into the lands of their Campbell 
enemies which lay to the westward. For geographical 
reasons the lands which suffered most from these incur- 
sions were those of the younger branch of the Argyll 
family, the Campbells of Glenurchy, whose head in the 
days of Charles II. became Earl of Breadalbane and 
Holland. On one occasion, while a marriage feast was 
going on at Glenurchy's stronghold of Finlarig on Loch 
Tay, word was suddenly brought that the MacDonalds 
were driving the cattle of the Campbells out of the glen, 
and the wedding guests almost instantly found themselves 
engaged in a bloody affray with the invaders. Again, on 
their way home from playing a victorious part under King 
James's general, Viscount Dundee, at the battle of Killie- 
crankie, the MacDonalds of Glencoe seized the oppor- 
tunity to sweep Glenlyon of its whole cattle and valuables, 
and left Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, Breadalbane's 
henchman, absolutely a ruined man. 

This feud and these events were the immediate reason 
for the occurrence which remains the most outstanding 
event in the history of the M'lan MacDonalds, and is 
remembered in history as the Massacre of Glencoe. The 
importance which that massacre has assumed on the his- 
toric page is altogether out of proportion to the actual size 
of the occurrence and to the number of those who lost 
their lives on the occasion. As a matter of fact, only thirty- 
eight of the MacDonalds were actually slain, and, though 
others may have perished among the snowdrifts in the 
high glens through which they tried to escape, the total 
is far less than that of those who fell in scores of old clan 
onsets and surprises, and cannot of course be compared 
with other massacres of clans obnoxious to the Campbells, 
like those of the 300 MacDonalds at Dunaverty and the 
200 Laments at Dunoon. The circumstances of the case 
have given an outstanding interest and notoriety to the 
Massacre of Glencoe the treachery which was used, the 
individuals who were concerned, and the matchless moun- 
tain theatre in which the tragic drama was set. Not a 
little of the notoriety of the event is also owed to the fact 
that it has been singled out for special description by 
such masters of the literary art as Sir Walter Scott and 
Lord Macaulay. 

The event is too well known to call for minute descrip- 
tion here. The prime mover in the undertaking, as hs 
already been suggested, was obviously Campbell of 
Glenurchy, Earl of Breadalbane, and he had a ready tool 
to his hand in the person of Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, 


who, as we have seen, had motives of his own for seeking 
reprisals on the MacDonalds. The days were over when 
it was safe for a Highland chief like Breadalbane to 
muster his clan openly and fall upon and destroy an 
obnoxious neighbour by force of arms on his own 
authority. Breadalbane was astute enough so to manage 
affairs that in the attack upon the MacDonalds of Glencoe 
he should be acting with Government authority find 
ostensibly in the interest of law and order. In the ***mit 
of the cunning old fox of Loch Tay-side the other and 
higher individuals to whom a stigma is attached for their 
part in directing and authorising the massacre King 
William II. and III. and Sir John Dalrymple first Earl 
of Stair were little more than pawns in the game. 

After the dispersal of Dundee's forces following the fall 
of King James's general at Killiecrankie, it was repre- 
sented to King William's Government as desirable that 
the chiefs of clans should be required to swear allegiance 
to the new Government, and it was arranged that if they 
laid down their arms and took the oath before ist January, 
1692, they should receive an indemnity for all previous 
offences. Breadalbane was the intermediary, and he took 
care to manage matters very astutely in his own interest. 
In the previous July, this noble had been trusted with 
the task of arranging matters with the Jacobite Highland 
Chiefs, and when they met him at his castle of Achalader. 
Glencoe, who was of a stately and venerable presence, and 
whose courage and sagacity gave him much influence with 
his neighbouring chieftains, is said to have taxed Breadal- 
bane with the design of retaining for his own use part 
of the money which Government had placed in his hands 
for securing the good will of the chiefs. The Earl had 
retorted by charging Glencoe with the theft of cattle from 
his lands, and, in the altercation, old feuds were recalled 
and an evil spirit was excited which promised ill for the 
weaker party. Maclain was repeatedly heard to say that 
he feared mischief from no man so much as from Breadal- 
bane. Breadalbane as a matter of fact seems to have 
taken pains to direct the special attention of rtie Master 
of Stair, as Secretary of State, to the MacDonalds of 
Glencoe as the most suitable clan of whom to makc * 
terrifying example to the Highlands. In a letter of 
December, the Secretary intimated the intention of i 
ment to destroy utterly some of the clans in < 
terrify the others, and expressed the hope 
MacDonalds of Glencoe would afford the oppo 
action against them by refusing to take the oath. 


Unfortunately Maclain was foolish enough to allow 
the days of grace almost to run out before taking the oath. 
Then, when he went to do so at Fort William, he was 
startled to find that Colonel Hill, the Governor there, not 
being a civil officer, had no power to accept it. It was 
necessary to go to Inveraray and take the oath there before 
the Sheriff of Argyll. The roads were almost impassable 
with snowdrifts, and, though the unhappy chieftain put 
forth his best efforts, the first of January was past 
before he reached Inveraray. The Sheriff was Sir Colin 
Campbell of Ardkinglas. In the circumstances, seeing 
that Glencoe had really tendered the oath in time, though 
to the wrong officer, he administered the oath and informed 
the Privy Council of the special circumstances. Maclain 
returned home believing that all was right, but as a matter 
of fact his doom was sealed. Already in advance a war- 
rant had been procured from King William for military 
execution against him. The Sheriff's letter was never 
produced before the Privy Council, and the certificate of 
Maclain 's having taken the oath was blotted out from the 
record. It seems probable that the fact of the Chief's 
submission was never brought to the King's knowledge. 

Events then moved relentlessly forward. Before the 
end of January a detachment of Argyll's regiment under 
Campbell of Glenlyon entered Glencoe. On Maclain 's 
sons with a body of clansmen meeting them and demand- 
ing their errand, Glenlyon replied that they came as 
friends to take quarters in the glen in order to relieve 
the overcrowded garrison at Fort William. They were 
accordingly hospitably received, and entertained for fifteen 
days by the unsuspecting chief and his people. On I2th 
December the order came to put to the sword every 
MacDonald in the glen under 70 years of age, to close 
all avenues of escape, and to take a special care that " the 
old fox and his cubs " should be put to death. 

As if to fill the cup of treachery Glenlyon continued 
to enjoy the hospitality of the unsuspecting clansmen. He 
took his morning draught as usual that day at the house 
of one of the sons of the chief, Alastair MacDonald, who 
was married to his niece. He and two of his officers 
accepted an invitation to dine next day with Maclain him- 
self ; and he sat late that night in his own quarters playing 
cards with the chief's sons. He even reassured these 
young men, who had come to him alarmed at finding the 
sentries doubled and the soldiers preparing their arms, 
by telling them he was about to set out against some of 
Glengarry's men, and he ended " If anything evil had 


been intended would I not have told Alastair and my 

At four o'clock in the morning a single shot rang out, 
and the bloody work began. Lindsay, one of the officers 
who had promised to dine with the chief, came with a 
party to Maclain's door and knocked for admittance, and 
as Glencoe was getting out of bed and giving orders for 
refreshments to be provided for his visitors, they shot 
him dead. His aged wife was then stripped and ill- 
treated, the savage soldiery even tearing the gold rings 
from her fingers with their teeth, so that she died next day. 
While this was being done the chief's two sons were 
roused from bed by an old domestic, who bade then fly 
for their lives. " Is it a time to sleep," he said, "when 
your father is murdered on his own hearth? " As they 
came out the shrieks and musket shots on every hand 
confirmed the warning, and, taking to flight, the young 
men, by their perfect knowledge of the spot, managed to 
escape by the southern exit from the glen. Their example 
was followed by most of the other inhabitants, and as 
Major Duncanson, Glenlyon's superior officer, had been 
hindered by the snows from closing the outlets of Glencoe, 
most of them escaped. Many scenes of blood, however, 
were brutally enacted. A certain Captain Drummond in 
particular distinguished himself by his brutality, ordering 
a young lad of twenty who had been spared by the soldiers 
to be instantly shot, and himself with his dirk stabbing 
a boy of six as he clung to Glenlyon's knees, begging for 
mercy. At one house a party of soldiers fired on a group 
of nine MacDonalds sitting round their morning fire and 
killed four of them. The owner of the house, who was 
unhurt, asked to be allowed to die in the open air. Barbe, 
the sergeant in command of the party, answered, " For 
your bread which I have eaten I will grant the request, ' 
and MacDonald was allowed to come out. He was, how- 
ever, an active man, and as the soldiers were taking aim 
he threw his plaid over their faces and vanished. 

The clan then numbered about two hundred fighting 
men. Of these more than 160 escaped, and, with their 
wives and ch'Mren, made their way through the deep 
snows for twelve miles to a place of safety, 
homes were utterly burned, and their means of subsist 
some twelve hundred head of cattle and horses, and i 
large number of sheep and goats, were driven off to Fort 
William for the u * of the garrison. 

It was three years before enquiry was made hv Govern- 
ment into the dastardly business. The report 

VOL. I. 


Royal Commission then appointed fixed the whole blame 
upon the Master of Stair. Though his sole punishment 
seemed to be that he was driven for a time from public 
life, it was said when he died in 1707 that his end had 
come by his own hand. In the tradition of the Highlands 
the massacre was thought to have entailed a curse upon 
the house of Glenlyon. In a later campaign the head of 
that house was in command of a firing party appointed to 
carry out the execution of a soldier. It was arranged that 
the proceedings should be carried up to the firing point, 
and that only then the man should be reprieved. The 
signal for the soldiers to fire was to be the waving of r 
white handkerchief by Glenlyon. When the moment 
arrived the officer put his hand into his pocket to produce 
the reprieve, but unluckily brought the handkerchief with 
it. This was taken for the concerted signal, the soldiers 
fired and the man fell dead. At that Glenlyon is said to 
have struck his brow with his hand, exclaiming, " The 
curse of God and Glenlyon is here. I am an unfortunate 
ruined man ! " and he forthwith retired from the service. 

Incidents of the massacre are told even yet in the 
neighbourhood. Towards the middle of the eighteenth 
century it is said an old soldier arrived at the inn at Port 
Appin, and by the other guests was regarded with lower- 
ing looks. Something he said excited their suspicion, 
and he was asked if he had ever been in the neighbour- 
hood before. He admitted that he had, and on being 
pressed confessed he had been one of the soldiers who 
took part in the massacre of Glencoe. Dirks were drawn 
and blood seemed likely to be shed, when he told his tale. 
In the dark of the fateful morning, he said, he had been 
following his officer along the hillside, when a woman 
was seen behind a boulder a little way off, trying to hide 
a child. The officer bade him see to it, and kill the child 
if it happened to be a boy. It was a boy, but before the 
mother's tears and prayers he had not the heart to obey 
his order. At the same time he was bound to show blood 
on his sword, and as a dog passed at the moment he 
plunged his weapon through it. A few minutes later, on 
his officer asking him whether he had slain the child, he 
held up his reddened blade and exclaimed, " Ask that! " 
As the soldier told the story the innkeeper's face had 
grown white. " If you were that red-coat I was that 
boy," he cried, " and there will be a place for you at the 
fireside of the Inn of Appin as long as you live." 

Another romantic sequel of the Massacre is narrated 
by Sir Walter Scott. When, during the Rising of 1745 


the Highland army was approaching Edinburgh it 
feared that the Glencoe men might seek to revenge them- 
selves by burning the house of Newliston, seat of Lord 
Stair, whose ancestor had been the chief mover in that 
crime, and it was arranged that a guard should be potlftd 
to protect the place. MacDonald of Glencoe heard of the 
resolution, and, deeming his honour involved, demanded 
that the guard should be supplied by the men of his own 
clan. The Prince agreed, and so it came about that " tlir 
MacDonalds guarded from the slightest injury the house 
of the cruel and crafty statesman who had devised and 
directed the massacre of their ancestors." 

By reason of its memories and its magnificence, 
Glencoe is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year, 
and in many a spot above the sunny little clachan of 
Invercoe are still to be seen the ruins of the houses associ- 
ated with the tragedy of that terrible February morning 
in 1692. In the early part of last century, however, the 
lands were left by Ewan MacDonald, the chief of the 
time, to his daughter, and towards the end of the century, 
Glencoe was acquired by the great Canadian statesman 
who took from it part of his title as Lord Strathcona and 
Mount Royal. 


Henderson Johnson 

Kean Keene 

MacHenry Maolan